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Event Review | Goethe's Workshop on Initial Understanding about Depression

In Nov 2019, we provided two basic mental health workshops to Goethe-Institut China for their employees. The presentation had four parts, how to distinguish between depression and being in a bad mood, the current situation of depression, self-care, and how to look after others. In the Haidian office, Xiaojie also used case studies to illustrate the key content to make it more digestible for the audience.

Starting with sharing their own perception towards being in a bad mood, people from the Goethe-Institut were introduced with the symptoms of depression, like reduced energy, and the influence of depression such as:

  • Reduced energy, feeling easily fatigued

  • Disturbance in sleep pattern

  • Unexplained physical symptoms

  • Depressed mood or frequent crying

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Social isolation, feeling detached from others

  • Withdrawal from work

  • Reduced confidence or self-esteem

  • Neglecting duties, such as homework, housework

  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

At the same time, Xiaojie also corrected some common myths about depression and clarified the facts, which was what truly matters.

Myths:

  • Even if depression is an illness, it cannot be treated the way other illnesses can.

  • Depression is one's own creation or fault.

  • If a person is depressed, there has to be an external factor bothering him.

  • Once depressed, a person remains depressed throughout his/her life.

Facts:

  • Depression is a treatable disorder. Treatments can include therapy, counseling, and medications.

  • The sufferers should not be blamed for the illness. There can be many causes.

  • Chemical changes in the brain can lead to depression without any external precipitating factor.

  • In most cases, depression lasts for a limited period. Adequate treatments lead to complete resolution of symptoms and the person can return to a normal state of activity and health.

After learning the basic knowledge of depression, they did online DASS-21 to simply get to know about their emotion levels, which helped them to reveal potential problems and to take further steps to cope with them. Then, Xiaojie presented some important skills that are useful for people to help themselves if they find themselves depressed and to care for other people around who are suffering from depression. According to different degrees of depression, different strategies should be applied in order to effectively help people with depression, to reduce the influence of depression. In terms of taking care of people with depression, the first thing to be check should be the closeness of the relationship, which helps us to know our boundaries and effectiveness in terms of supporting others. People need to listen to the person and not avoid the topic, while avoiding using logic to fight with emotions and not blindly giving advice. Xiaojie also provided some professional helplines in case anyone met an emergency situation but did not know what to do.

The presentation aroused some reflections of people in Goethe-Institut and made them pose many doubts and questions, which showed their interest in knowing more about this topic. We ended the workshop with the short Q&A part. We believe that the workshop must have helped them to take the first step of learning about mental issues. This experience was proven to be an enriching one and one CandleX would keep on providing with employees in the future.


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