Elena’s Crossing, An Initiative That Collects Hundreds Of Real Testimonies From People With Depression

Last Thursday a very special meeting took place in which Ana Santos, illustrator of the project La travesía de Elena , and a series of professionals specialized in medicine participated. The objective was to answer several questions about the depression which, thanks to this project, we are trying to give greater visibility, since it is still a great unknown.

Boosting Elena’s journey in the 3rd Edition of the #depressionsesale campaign can help many people to know that they are in a depression and to look for a professional who can give them the necessary tools to get out of it. This initiative, we must not forget, has the endorsement of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry (SEP) and the La Barandilla Association .

What is ‘Elena’s Journey’?
It is a set of illustrations that Ana Santos gave life to . She herself claimed that she had to soak up depression, contacting doctors, collecting testimonies from people who have suffered from it. In his own words he said that “the sketches that he did at the beginning were a bit dark, so I wanted to turn them around, a positive aspect”.

In addition, thanks to this work, Ana Santos has realized all the symptoms of depression that could be overlooked and that, now, in the future, she will know how to detect if they appear. Having empathy and not judging people who suffer from it are two keys that should not be forgotten, according to her .

Depression is much more common than we think
Dr. Celso Arango, president of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry (SEP), was also at this meeting to talk about the depression situation in Spain. According to him, the most vulnerable are tweens and teens. In addition, the pandemic has made it possible to know that mental disorders are quite frequent.

As he stated, depression is the 2nd cause of sick leave in our country and 1 in 10 Spaniards is going to affect them . For this reason, when a young person performs poorly in high school, injures himself or talks about death, “families should never minimize these issues,” the doctor explained.

“30% of the 5000 calls do not speak with the families because they believe that they are going to harm them”
The family has a very important role
The insistence that the family not minimize an issue as serious as depression was something that José Manuel Dolader, director of the La Barandilla Association, agreed on . As he well said at the meeting, “30% of the 5000 calls that we have received by phone are in terrible suffering and do not speak to the families because they think they will harm them.”

From this Association, they make available to the population a telephone in which all the people who call, according to Dolader, “100% are people who are going through a depression . ” What can they do in this situation? One of the proposals is to go to the primary care doctor, although currently the health system is still collapsed.

Primary care, the door to early detection
Although many people consider that to treat depression they should go to a psychologist or psychiatrist, the truth is that due to the disparate symptoms that can appear, the door for its detection is usually primary care. Dr. Vicente Gasull, a primary care physician, explained in this meeting that sadness or lack of energy are warning signs .

However, it is not easy to detect these symptoms as depression. What would be the solution? According to Gasull, the stability of primary care physicians to know patients and detect if there has been a change in them. In his own words, “you have to have a good attitude with the patient, empathy and always think that this pathology may exist” .

Depression manifests itself in all situations with complaints that have to do with the affective plane . Therefore, proper monitoring is essential. However, as Gasull pointed out, sometimes “the family does not always accept that the patient has depression.” This is a great challenge.

All in all, Elena ‘s Journey is an interactive journey that people with depression can relate to and seek help with. From primary care there is a lot of work to do, since lack of time is an important handicap. However, there is more and more awareness of depression and it is essential to give it prominence to know it much better .