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Volunteer depression service rolls out education programme

#DepressionHurts campaign asks schools to give over one lesson to educating children on spotting depression in others – and reaching out if they are suffering.

Image: Valerie Everett via Flickr/Creative Commons

A VOLUNTEER-RUN service aimed at helping people suffering from depression has launched its website and hopes to roll out an information programme to schools.

Depression Hurts started out as a 24/7-manned Twitter account over last Christmas, encouraging people who felt vulnerable and lonely over the festive season to reach out over social media. Norah Bohan, one of its founders, said that the idea for the online support system came about from a late-night Twitter conversation between herself (@TalentCoop) and Alan Lavender (@alanceltic) about the issue of depression and suicide.

They and other volunteers created a video, called ‘It Starts With You’, encouraging others to recognise signs of depression in their loved ones, and also recorded a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s If I Should Fall Behind, Wait for Me.

The online service continued until the beginning of January but now the founders want to continue the reach-out programme through the site DepressionHurtsIreland.com. One of the initiatives is a downloadable tip card which lists signs of depression which one might spot in a friend, colleague or relative and also lists ideas on how to help as well as important helpline numbers.

Bohan told TheJournal.ie that she and Lavender are writing to schools across the country this month, asking them to dedicate just one lesson to the #depressionhurts (the hashtag used on Twitter) education project. Interested educators can contact the group on teach[at]depressionhurtsireland.com. There are also information leaflets for businesses. The organisers are also hoping in future to implement an advocacy structure that might provide help for those suffering from depression. They are asking for volunteers who might be able to help in this way to make contact here.

  • The Samaritans are available at 1850 60 90 90 or by email at jo@samaritans.org Other helpful contact numbers include Aware at 1890 303 302; Console at 1800 201 890; Pieta House at 01 601 0000, email mary@pieta.ie

Download: The Depression Hurts tip and information card>

Read: Depression affects one in four – so we tried to do something about it>

Read: Social media campaign aims to highlight depression>

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