Published Tue, 2011-04-12 13:10; updated 4 years ago.

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A newly-created trust that deals with mental health is urging people to seek early advice if they are feeling depressed.

The Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which was formerly the Sandwell Mental Health and Social Care Foundation Trust, made the plea as it prepares to support Depression Awareness Week, which runs until from Sunday, 17 April, 2011.

Dr Nibha Hegde, specialist doctor in older adult psychiatry, said people should be more aware of their current state of mental health and wellbeing and not be embarrassed to seek help.

"Depression is a common condition," she explained. "Each year six per cent of adults experience an episode of depression and over the course of their lifetime more than 15 per cent of the population will experience an episode.

"Treatment and support is readily available and people often recover without the need for long term medications."

These are the most common symptoms of depression:  

  • Tiredness and loss of energy  
  • Sadness that doesn’t go away
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  •  Feeling anxious all the time
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
  • Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thinking about suicide and death
  • Self-harm

Anyone experiencing four or more of those symptoms for a major part of the day or most days for two weeks or more are urged to seek help from their GP.

Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, death or self harm, you should visit their GP immediately.