Why It’s Important to Be Open about Depression
There is still a huge stigma about mental health problems, despite the fact that depression affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population in any given year. Many people who suffer from depression feel ashamed of their condition, with many citing it as a sign of their weakness or inadequacy. However that simply isn’t the case. This is why it’s important that the stigma of depression is removed, and the only way for this goal to be achieved is for individuals with depression to keep talking about their condition. The more people that open up and talk about their experiences with depression, the more normal it will become.
Celebrities Speaking Out
Earlier this year, supermodel and actress Cara Delavigne, a young woman at the top of her professional game, opened up about her battle with depression to her five million followers on Twitter. This decision was hailed as brave and important, because it demonstrated to her young fans that depression was nothing to be ashamed of, and that it is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their success or their circumstances. When questioned about her decision to speak out, Delavigne responded by saying that "Mental illness goes unseen, but hopefully I don't want it to be unheard. I want to speak up for it." High profile celebrities choosing to share their mental health problems is key for destigmatizing negativity around mental health, breaking down the barriers to support and care. However the buck doesn’t and shouldn’t stop with celebrities: it is important that everyone who is suffering from a mental health condition such as depression is open about their condition with their loved ones, family and friends in order to demonstrate, in a widespread and significant way, that depression can affect anyone and is nothing to feel ashamed about.
Sharing the Weight of Responsibility
Speaking out about depression doesn’t only help remove the stigma of the condition, it also removes a lot of pressure from those suffering from it, which in turn could be beneficial in alleviating the condition, in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan. Many people suffering from mental health conditions such as depression spend a considerable amount of time thinking about how they will hide their condition and feeling ashamed of what is an integral part of their biological make up. From lying about their mental health problems to potential employers, to not disclosing their depression on applications for travel insurance or life insurance (despite knowing that this would void their policy should they need to use it) many depressives find themselves choosing to hide their condition on an almost daily basis. This only serves to make it seem that their condition is something that needs to be hidden away and not discussed because it somehow makes them less. Whilst this is not true, it is also an additional burden that individuals suffering from depression shouldn’t have to bear as they march on their journey to recovery.
Time to Remove the Stigma
The stigma surrounding mental health problems means that it is understandable why many people are so reticent to share their condition with others. Most people who have no experience of the condition have no idea how to treat or act around someone suffering from depression. We are still far-removed from being in a position where it is considered normal or even acceptable to talk about mental health. However you may well be surprised to find that when you do choose to open up people will want to support you on your journey, and may well even share details of their own battles with mental health disorders. With more than 6 percent of the population suffering from the condition each year, more people than you might think will know exactly what you’re going through. Discussion and reassurance can be important tools on the road to recovery, and the only way we can access those tools is by taking the plunge and opening up about depression.
Post Written by Anne Farns
Post Written by Anne Farns