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Aug 13, 2015 12:33 EST

Cardiac Blues Awareness Day 8th Oct: to raise awareness about the emotional impacts of heart disease, as part of mental health week

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 13, 2015

Cardiac Blues Awareness Day 8th Oct

The story of the project

What is the ‘Cardiac Blues’?

Each year, 55,000 Australians have a heart attack. That’s one heart attack every 10 minutes.

While heart disease remains the number one killer of Australians, advances in treatments mean that more people are surviving a heart attack than 20 years ago.

However, while the body can recover physically, healing the mind is more complex!

A heart event is an emotional experience, not just a physical one. Having a heart attack or heart surgery comes as a huge shock and distress is common. Once they get home from hospital, people go on an “emotional rollercoaster” of worry, guilt, frustration, anger, fear and sadness.

Almost all people who have a cardiac event experience the cardiac blues! This is very distressing, confusing and challenging for people, especially if the health professionals treating them aren’t aware about this important problem.

While the cardiac blues resolves for most people, one in five people go on to develop major depression. People who are depressed are more likely to have another heart attack and to die prematurely.

“If patients don’t know what to expect emotionally and don’t get reassurance early, they are at risk of developing serious depression. This depression can last for a long time, often well beyond physical recovery. Once patients become depressed, they are more likely to have another heart event and to die early. This is why we have developed the Cardiac Blues resources” – Dr Barbara Murphy, Deputy Director, Heart Research Centre.

About the project

The Heart Research Centre’s ‘Cardiac Blues’ resources were launched in July 2014 and are the first of their kind in the world. On 8 October 2015 we are asking the community to ‘Wear Blue for Cardiac Blues’ to raise awareness about the emotional impacts of heart disease, as part of mental health week. We will be working with cardiac health professionals to hold events in metropolitan and regional hospitals and to distribute resources to cardiac patients to help them manage the cardiac blues.

How the funds will be used

The funds will be used to distribute a resource pack and promotional material to health professionals and community members who have registered to ‘Wear Blue for Cardiac Blues’ and host an event to promote awareness of the cardiac blues. The resource packs includes resources that the Heart Research Centre has developed to help with emotional recovery after a heart attack or heart surgery. These resources are based on research evidence that, for people with heart disease, psychological recovery is best achieved when:

– the person’s emotional responses are acknowledged, normalised and responded to;
– the person understands the importance of dealing with emotions;
– the person has strategies for dealing with emotions; and
– the person knows when and where to seek help.

How much money is needed?
$10, 000 will enable us to produce the materials and resources to provide to health professionals and community members hosting a cardiac blues event.

$12,000 will enable us to produce an infographic explaining the prevalence and impact of the cardiac blues and depression on Australian lives.

$20, 000 will enable us to produce an animation that explains the cardiac blues to be televised as a community service announcement.

Challenges

While almost all people will experience the cardiac blues after a heart attack, it can be difficult to talk about these emotions and experiences. There also remains some stigma in the community around depression and mental health.  Many health professionals who care for people who have had a heart attack say that they lack the skills to support the emotional recovery of their patients. These factors may present challenges when promoting the event and engaging the community to ‘wear blues for cardiac blues’. However we hope that the day helps to normalise distress and depression and we have planned a series of events to help promote the day to the community and health professionals working with people recovering from a heart attack.
Contact Information:

Heart Research Centre
Dr Lyndel Shand
Dr Barbara Murphy

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