Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Family support critical in handling depression

CNA , TAIPEI

The amount of family support that a depressed youth receives is a major factor influencing the level of severity of the youth's depression, a psychology expert said yesterday.

Huang Kuo-yen (黃國彥), a psychology professor at National Chengchi University, said that the higher the level of family support the depressed juvenile receives, the less severe his or her depression will be.

Huang said that youths are just as likely to suffer from depression or other emotional problems as adults are.

Although most youths are inclined to share their feelings with their peers, those who suffer mental or physical health problems will fare much better if they seek and obtain support from their families, Huang noted.

He urged young people to be on alert against mood swings, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, the sudden onset of sadness and loss of appetite.

Persons who suffer most of these symptoms continuously for three weeks should seek professional assistance immediately, Huang said, adding that depression is treatable and curable so long as it is handled in time.

Meanwhile, the John Tung Foundation, which completed a nationwide survey last month about the mood of adults, has made a short film, titled The Next Smile, to call the public's attention to the problem of depression among youths.

The foundation has also made printed charts available at convenience stores to help youth prevent falling into the quagmires of mental and physical problems.

The results of the foundation's survey last month revealed that many adults are not happy.

According to the survey, 43.9 percent of the adult respondents confessed to having depression, with 11.7 percent saying they feel they need medical treatment and 8.7 percent saying they feel their stress has reached the "saturation point." Only 7.6 percent said they would consider seeking professional assistance for a mental illness or emotional problems.

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