What stresses you? What makes you unhappy? What keeps you awake?
How many times we have asked this to a friend or a relative? Did we mean it? What did we do about it? How many times we’ve been asked this? Maybe even from a professional? If the latter is the case, then even better, because this means that we asked for help. A great step towards recovery.

Why this post? Why now? Why during Christmas? Simple. This is a time of hope. Hope for rebirth, for starting over, for making things right again, for trying harder. And we all deserve it and we need to offer it. No, it is not a nice to have. It is not a good deed. It is our duty. Towards the people we love. The people we know. Even the people we do not know. Yet. Are there people today of such need? Around us? In Switzerland? Yes. Yes. Yes. Sad, but real. Here are the stats.

Among Population aged 15 or over
diapositive1

18% of the Swiss population (15years old and older) suffer from a medium to high psychological distress. This is almost 1 in 5. Out of our 5 friends or relatives, out of any 5 people around us at any time, one exhibits such unfortunate and so difficult symptoms. Can you relate? Makes sense?

Persons suffering from moderate to serious depression (among Population aged 15 or over)
diapositive2Source: FSO – Swiss Health Survey (SHS)

It looks like it is younger people that suffer the most from a major depression. This is very sad but there is also the positive message that as we grow older we kinda figure it out and tend to be less depressed and hopefully happier. Maybe we care less about… anything. Being liked, criticized, beautiful, rich, successful…

Psychosocial risks at work, 2012 (among Employed population aged 15 to 64)
diapositive41 Most of the time or always, at least one risk, 2 Most of the time or always, 3 At least 1 risk in the last 12 months, 4 Sufficiently or quite a lot. Source: FSO – Swiss Health Survey (SHS)

It might also be that it is work related. We are more stressed earlier in our career or in our work environment. The workplace is the major stress source for most of us. I quote the Swiss Health report: 18% of economically active persons are stressed most of the time or always and 13% are worried about losing their job. The above graph shows what stresses us. Sounds familiar?

Number of psychiatrists per 10 000 population in European countries, 2011
diapositive6Source: Mental health atlas 2011. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2004
(http://www.who.int/mental_health/publications/mental_health_atlas_2011/en, accessed 30 August 2013).

But hey, is it all gloomy and desperate? NO! Definitely NOT! The opposite. We are lucky to have help all around us. First of all our own people that care and we care about. But there is also professional help more abundant than anywhere else. We are the no 1 country in the wold with most psychiatrists per inhabitant or per 10,000 population. They are busy already, giving you an appointment in 2 months time, but still, make them busier. If you need them or somebody you know should use them… For more help, look into this past post that I wrote for a friend of us who lost hope and left us way too early. I never forgot you, my fair lady. Nobody did.

smart-quotes-54524-statusmind-comTo conclude…
Avoid what stresses you and makes you unhappy. Whoever, whatever is that. Yes it is OK. Just walk away at any price. It’s not worth it if this will result in making you part of the above statistics.
Listen.
Really listen what people tell you. Make the “how are you” a real one. Listen to the answer. And mostly between the lines.
Stay close with each other. Physically. No, whatsapp and viber do not crack it. People need our eyes, our smile, our voice. Not our hashtags, gifs and smileys.
And don’t give pain. Specially if you are in a position of power. Whatever power this is. We often do it without realizing it. Although some do realize it and are OK with it… Sad.
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