The Perth-based owner of Resilience Kit says that while the 2016/17 World Health Day campaign focuses on the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery, she hopes that on 7 April we can make prevention part of the conversation too.

“To treat depression and depressive illness, we must first understand it; and to understand it we need to talk about it. As a society, we are getting better at how we talk about mental health; but we talk more about “cure” or treatment than we do about the ways we could prevent depression in the first instance. We know prevention is better than a cure; but treatment holds our attention more when it comes to depression. I’m suggesting this World Health Day, let’s also recognise and talk about our options in the area of prevention,” she said.

Can depression be prevented?

In 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said prevention of depression is an area deserving of more attention; and referenced again in the 2016/17 World Health Day campaign: “Depression can be effectively prevented and treated.”

According to the WHO, prevention programs evidence the reduction of elevated levels of depressive symptoms, none more so than those if deployed in targeted grass roots channels including but not limited to schools, playgroups, and community centres.

Depression can affect anyone, but three groups at the centre of the World Health Day campaign this year, are adolescents and young adults, women of childbearing age (particularly following childbirth), and older adults.

“When we talk prevention of depression, we need to talk about interventions that improve the psychosocial well-being of the family unit: that means young people and those in charge of their care,” she said.

Build resilience with preventative training

Through Resilience Kit, owner Gemma Lee Taylor advocates for preventative training for children and adolescents by finding ways to engage and empower the Perth families: parents, carers and the elderly.

“We know that if we can provide information on evidence-based strategies to build resilience in parents and caregivers, it can reduce parental depressive symptoms, and simultaneously drive improvements in children’s outcomes. The information and help is out there, it is just a little hard to find. We can do more to make support more accessible.”

“The onus is wide reaching: it’s on the media to help change the public discourse; families to change the way we talk about depression in the home, and health and education providers to make sure preventative measures are on their radar. “Depression can be prevented! Let’s talk about it,” said Ms Taylor.