Depression is treatable.
Depression does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone – but certain communities still view mental health problems with a sense of shame.
The stigma surrounding mental health can be very real for older adults who grew up in an era when cognitive or behavioural issues were swept under the rug, ignored and were taboo to talk about publicly.
While the fear related to depression varies depending on the generation, cultural background, education level and so on, it poses a problem because it stops people from reaching out for help. This is frustrating for health professionals because depression is treatable and can be reversible.
Being depressed means I’m weak.
The stigma and shame surrounding mental illness stops people from asking for help.
Today, the stigma is diminishing. More is known about mental illness, people are talking about it more openly and it is being discussed in the newspaper and on television more often. All of this attention is bringing with it acceptance and understanding.
Fear decreases as people come to realize that mental illness is the same as any other illness such as heart disease, diabetes and requires the appropriate interventions.
Education is the key. People need to know that depression is not a form of personal deficiency. It is an illness. And with the proper diagnosis and treatment, depression is reversible.