Depression is common and life threatening

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Get help quickly if there are signs of depression

"Depression is a common, serious and often life-threatening illness that can affect anyone," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hegerl, CEO of the German Depression Aid Foundation. Today in Leipzig's Gewandhaus, more than 1,200 people affected by depression, relatives and those interested come together. The German Depression Aid Foundation, together with the German Alliance against Depression and the German Depression League, is holding the Depression Patient Congress for the second time. The event will be moderated by entertainer Harald Schmidt. Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr has taken over the patronage.

Depression is and was a common illness The statistics of the health insurance companies show an increase in incapacity days due to depression. For Prof. Ulrich Hegerl, director of the clinic and polyclinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital Leipzig, there is no "depression epidemic" behind it, but rather the rather gratifying fact that more sick people get professional help and doctors recognize the disease better and name it correctly. This better care for people with depression is one of the reasons for the fact that the number of suicides in Germany has dropped from 18,000 a year in the early 1980s to around 10,000 today.

Work is more often a protective than causal factor in depressive disorders The relationship between work and depression is less clear than is often claimed. “Depression is less common among working people than among other groups of people, and more common among part-time workers than among full-time workers. For many people, work is more of a protective factor, ”explains Prof. Hegerl.

Waiting for psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatment is a big problem "A problem for prompt and quick help is the insufficient number of psychotherapists with health insurance," says Thomas Müller-Rörich, 1st Chairman of the German Depression League and board member of the German Depression Aid Foundation. “The waiting time for a first interview with a psychotherapist is on average 12.5 weeks. Usually, another three months pass between the first consultation and the actual start of treatment, ”complains Müller-Rörich, who was suffering from severe depression in 1994.

Knowledge deficits and prejudices lead to treatment deficits. Factual information and education are important to improve acceptance and understanding in society. The patron of the German Depression Aid Foundation and moderator of the congress, entertainer Harald Schmidt, says: “Everywhere you hear and read that someone has a burnout. I know from working with the German Depression Aid Foundation that most people actually suffer from depression. If we also call depression, it is also a step towards the right treatment and it would help a lot to those affected. "

Burnout, a purely German-speaking phenomenon? "Burnout is a fashion term that has only become common in German-speaking countries and also creates confusion when it comes to treatment," explains Prof. Ulrich Hegerl. This can e.g. be made clear in Google Trends.

Depression is a disease with a particularly large scope for optimization in treatment
Every fifth German citizen suffers from depression once in a lifetime. In total, around four million people in Germany currently suffer from depression that requires treatment. Although good treatment options are available, less than 10% of sufferers receive optimal and guideline-compliant treatment.

The main program of the 2nd German Depression Patient Congress comprises seven lectures dealing with different perspectives of the disease. Self-help groups and regional alliances present themselves in the foyer. In the afternoon, participants can choose between a lecture by bestselling author Dr. Manfred Lütz ("Crazy! We treat the wrong people") and numerous interactive workshops. In this workshop, specific topics related to the disease are discussed in small groups. “With the 2nd German Depression Patient Congress, we want to offer the participants an informative and unforgettable congress experience,” emphasizes Priv.-Doz. Christine Rummel-Kluge, managing director of the German Depression Aid Foundation.

The Carlsson Wedemeyer Support Prize is awarded as part of the 2nd Depression Patient Congress. This year he is going to a project of the clinic and polyclinic for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics of childhood and adolescence at the University Hospital Leipzig, which enables the research of a creative therapeutic and educational outpatient group offer for children and adolescents with a depressive illness. The “German Depression Aid Media Award” will also be presented for the first time. In the afternoon, visitors to the congress will award the winners of the "Ways out of Depression" photo competition. (pm)

Image: RIKE /

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