Help for depression on new website

Summary

Flanders’ wellness minister has launched a new online platform aimed at helping people determine if they are suffering from stress or a full-on depression

Tackling a growing problem

The government of Flanders has launched a new website to assist people suffering from depression. The site, depressiehulp.be, is targeted at both those who are in treatment and those who are not.

Depressiehulp.be (in Dutch) has three main sections: Information, Online Self Help and Online Supplement. The Information section explains what depression is and the different ways in which it manifests itself.

Online Self Help leads users through steps they can take to understand and address their own – or a loved ones’ – feelings. The international PHQ-9 depression determination test helps users differentiate between actual depression and other kinds of issues, such as stress or work burnout.

Self-Help, meanwhile, offers advice and suggestions to those who are experiencing depression or other problems. This includes an explanation of how lifestyle choices can lead to stress or fatigue.

Finally, Online Supplement is for those who are in treatment and who could use some additional support when away from the psychologist’s office. It can also be used following initial consultations in place of face-to-face talks.

“The role of the therapist is important,” explains a spokesperson for the new site, “but it’s also essential to provide patients with the tools to take some matters into their own hands in order to help them realise their own changes.”

The new site is one of a number of initiatives taken by Flemish wellness minister Jo Vandeurzen to address the growing number of people having problems with stress, burnout and depression in the region. Statistics show that five higher education students per week attempt suicide, while more than one-third of work absences are due to psychosocial reasons.