Learn to notice the signs of depression, says Rounds

Former journalist and mental health survivor Gary Rounds at the World Mental Health Day event in Suva on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Picture: JESSICA SAVIKE

PEOPLE need to learn to notice the signs and symptoms of a person suffering from depression and how one can prevent them from going to the extreme of taking their own life.

This was the comment of former journalist Gary Rounds who was the special guest speaker at the World Mental Health Day event in Suva today.

Mr Rounds who is also the co-founder of Youth Champs for Mental Health shared his story on how he fought depression and his anxiety at a point of his life where he had decided to give up.

He shared how he upheld many responsibilities in school and in order to be an all-rounder and also the cool guy in school, he started smoking and attending drinking parties during the weekends.

Mr Rounds shared how he started smoking marijuana at the age of 17, knowing that it was harmful to his health but he made himself believe that if he smoked and studied before a major exam, he would pass with flying colours.

He said in 2003, he started working as a television reporter and drank away his money at nightclubs, and indulged in marijuana.

He said his lifestyle got him to a point where he would struggle to pay rent, buy food and pay the bills until the next pay day.

After quitting his job, he joined ANZ as a teller and as years went by, he became heavily dependent on marijuana to an extent where he needed to smoke it in order to sleep.

Mr Rounds said there were times he would feel hopeless and unworthy of his life and he realised that he needed professional help.

After being advised by his HR department to see a psychologist, he was informed that he was suffering from a mental illness called depression.

When prescribed anti-depressant pills, Mr Rounds said he overdosed himself thinking he would not wake up the next day but he did.

He said after the second visit to the psychologist, he knew he could not trust himself with his life and got himself admitted at the St Giles Psychiatric Hospital where he received treatment and was able to recover within three months.

He said he was able to recover through the support of his family, workmates and close friends.

Mr Rounds encouraged people to talk about mental health and suicide prevention.

He said it was important to be there for loved ones when they were down at their very lowest and to give them comfort in knowing that there was someone who was willing to lend a listening ear.

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