Heart Foundation Welcomes Studies on Depression, Aboriginal Cultural Issues
5 January 2012 at 12:32 pm
Depression, social isolation and lack of support can lead to greater vulnerability to heart problems according to new research released by an international research team led by a Charles Sturt University researcher.
Dr Robert Grenfell, National Clinical Issues Director at the National Heart Foundation of Australia, said it was important to treat depression as a way of avoiding heart disease.
Mild depression is associated with doubling the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and heart attack (and death from these causes), and severe depression has an even more profound effect – with up to five times the rate of cardiovascular disease as compared to non-depressed people, Dr Grenfell said.
The study found that depression affects the way heart rate is controlled – but that in order to reverse the heart disease that may result, it’s important to act quickly.
Large studies have shown where depression appears to be adequately treated, patients have not shown any reversal, or improvement in the cardiovascular disease risk, therefore the best option is to treat depression in its early stages, said Dr Grenfell.
Meanwhile the Heart Foundation (WA) is urging Not for Profit organisations to be aware of “culturally appropriate responses to Aboriginal health” after they released a report which found organisations often struggle to know how respond to indigenous issues.
Director for Cardiovascular Health at the Heart Foundation (WA) Trevor Shilton told the Science Network, “While there is increasing recognition in the Australian public health arena of the need for more culturally appropriate responses to Aboriginal health, many organisations (government and non-government) struggle with how to effectively do this.”
Coordinator Aboriginal Health Ms Lyn Dimer says, “Other Not for Profit organisations need to work effectively with Aboriginal staff and allow them to work in Aboriginal ways as they best understand the people, the way of working and how best to deliver….It is also about integrating your program into the needs of the community and not the other way around.
“We’d like to see more Aboriginal people employed in wards to be a first port of call especially for Aboriginal people from rural and remote areas, so not only is there familiarity but can also someone who understands their cultural ways.”