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The Importance of Understanding Depression in 2020

Image source: Joakim Agervald

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of Australians said their mental health was impacted. In July 2020, depression rates in Australia doubled. With much of the country experiencing complete social isolation at some point this year, with limited access to the things that make us feel lighter and warmer and happier, it’s no wonder that the black dog has stormed its way into homes and workplaces.

Understanding The Complexities of Depression has Never Been More Important

Whether developing a deeper understanding of depression is applicable to you and your personal life, or you’re leading a team, and running an organisation that has a direct impact on communities, a more nuanced understanding of depression is integral to good leadership.

If you’re an employer, you have the unique opportunity to support your team and better their quality of life. However, as business owners ourselves, we understand tight budgets. Of course, we care about our team, but we also need to make sure we can pay their wages. So, what to do?

Here are the facts: according to VicHealth, an estimated 1.54 million working Australians currently have depression. For each person working, the cost to businesses is an average $8000 per year. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in initiatives and programs to ensure you and your team are feeling safe and healthy in the spaces they spend most of their time. But what initiatives? What activities? 

The First Thing You Can Do

Without a solid understanding of depression, and how it affects individuals and teams, you can’t put strategies in place to support those in your life. Torrens University Australia has developed a new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) that provides valuable insights into depression. The four-week course was developed in partnership with Beyond Blue, an organisation which plays a critical role in promoting mental health. The MOOC is open to anyone with a personal or professional interest in understanding depression. Commencing on Monday 26 October 2020, it will be delivered by Torrens University lecturers alongside content created by people with a lived experience of depression, including representatives from Beyond Blue.

Emma Donaldson is a Senior Learning Facilitator in Education. She says the free course was initially created to respond to rates of depression within the community, but the launch date had to be delayed, factoring in the stressors of COVID-19.

“When the pandemic hit, we identified very early on that the strategies for depression weren’t appropriate when the whole country was in lockdown. So, we went back to our partners Beyond Blue and developed more content that was COVID specific.”

You can register for Understanding Depression: Learning From Lived Experience here.
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