For many people London is an exciting and vibrant place that has a wealth of social and work opportunities. Strange then that with all of this hustle and bustle that it can be a lonely and isolating experience to suffer depression in London.
With current statistics suggesting that at any given time around 6.9% of people are experiencing an episode of depression, it means that on an average rush hour tube train in London approximately 130 people are likely to have symptoms of depression.
Surprised By How Many People This Is?
Having depression in London is no different to experiencing it anywhere else in the country, and people are still just as likely to shy away from talking about it, which is why,, with so many people experiencing this disorder it is surprising that more attention isn’t given to emotional wellbeing and how to reduce depression in the capital.
How Can Living In London Increase The Risk Of Depression?
It isn’t true to say that being in London will automatically lead someone to getting depressed, but it is true to say that where you live can have an impact on how easy it is to stay well and to reduce the likelihood of depression. As with all cities, London can lead to higher levels of things that can increase your vulnerability to experiencing depression – particularly if you have already had an depression episode in the past.
1) Isolation. Whilst there are lots of people around you, research shows that living in a large city can actually be a very lonely experience. Social isolation is a key factor that can increase the chances of depression. Take care to explore ways that you can discover and build high quality relationships. There a lots of organisations, societies and activities on the doorstep – why not see if you can use this as a way to build some closer friendships. A good place to start is joining a club or organisation that interests you. There are also a number of groups that can help connect you with people around you, for example, try checking out something like Citysocialiser.
2) Financial Pressures. It is estimated that the cost of living can be up to &0% higher in London that other parts of the UK. This can increase day to day stress, which over time can increase the risk of depression. Why not explore simple life hacks that can help you save money. Small changes could have a big impact.
3) Work-Life Imbalance. Many people are drawn to The capital for the increased work opportunities. Whilst this can be a great way to accelerate your way up the career ladder, it can also be a fast lane to depression in London if your work doesn’t offer a good level of enjoyment and sense of achievement for you. Try keeping an enjoyment and achievement rating for each morning, afternoon and evening during an average fortnight. If your scores are consistently low, then it might be worth asking if your work-life balance needs a tune-up.
4) Your Commute Can Make A Difference. Research shows that if your journey to and from work is longer than around one hour, your average contentment rating with life on average is likely to be lower than people with a shorter journey. Exploring ways of being closer to the office, bringing the office home or spicing up your travel by doing something pleasurable can all make a significant difference. What could you do on your journey that would increase your enjoyment? Things such as making eye contact and smiling at people, whilst small, can break the monotony and depersonalisation of a long train or bus ride. It might also brighten up someone else’s day too!
5) Poor Physical Health. Whilst not as significant as in years gone by, there is still a gap in average health and life expectancies between people who live in the city and the countryside. There are also links between having long term poor health or certain medical conditions and experiencing depression. Try following some simple tips to make lifestyle changes that could improve your physical health and also help you guard against depression in London. A simple but useful place to start can be exploring ways to improve your diet and exercise levels. The NHS Change4Life site has some simple and easy tips to get you started.
Whilst these 5 tips don’t have all the answers, they do cover the basics of increasing your psychological wellbeing in London. Research shows that people who have already had an episode of depression are more likely to experience another compared to those that haven’t. Each time someone has an episode of depression this risk increases still further. So if you live in London and have been depressed before that it is certainly worth exploring how you can make some of the changes in this list.
About the author: Alex Hedger is Clinical Director of Dynamic You: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinics, and a CBT Therapist in London.