Does depression still have a stigma? Watch
Despite the establishment (whether the NHS or the government generally) trying to push for depressed people to seek help, and wipe away the stigma, I still get the impression that depression is seen as something somewhat shameful and not a "proper" illness. Further, I think it's also seen as an admission of weakness - that you don't have the mental resilience to fight the "sadness".
What are your thoughts? Is society's view of depression changing, or is the stigma still there despite what the government is trying to do?
There needs to be more education on mental health rather than putting it in a corner and labelling it as not a "proper" illness.
- Political Ambassador
But whilst I think the UK has progressed, I think it is also showing signs of regression with the Government's slashing of mental health budgets. It's still not taken seriously enough, and I worry it's because of something ridiculous like because you can't necessarily see it like you can see a broken leg, it's not as important. The mental health services need budget increases, not decreases; they're thinly spread as it is.
I would say it's now accepted when it's seen as under control, except by very traditional/fascist/prejudiced individuals. When it's seen as not under control, that is visible, there is still strong stigma.
I would also say many people are compassionate about it from a detached 'there but for good fortune go I' way, until they actually have suffer it themselves or someone very close to them suffers (friend, family, partner etc.)
If anything, with the advancement of behavioural therapies (the most popular at present being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and understanding of the relation between core beliefs and neurochemistry/physiological reactions to stress, more emphasis is now placed upon treating the mentally ill as equals, functioning adults with responsibility for their own wellbeing, as opposed to a historical condescending attitude 'oh they have X condition they can't help themselves acting this weird/antisocial way, poor thing'. (Which is a good thing, progress, but some of the ill do not see it that way I've been guilty of following the 'muh biology' route)
(This is all, as noted, from a Western perspective)
Please note OP that depression, anxiety disorders and most addictions hold the least stigma of all the mental illnesses; the most being held by OCD, bipolar, more severe disorders like schizophrenia, dissociation and borderline, as well as the various personality disorders (histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial etc.) Although from what I understand personality disorders are not mental illnesses per se…but I digress.
Someone who suffers depression is a burden to those around them. Those who care for them are likely to feel frustrated and powerless to help. Depression is not like having a broken bone. The cause and cure are not obvious. The fact that it is not clear why it is happening, makes it hard to justify. Perhaps people shouldn't have to defend their reasons for becoming ill, but to some extent they do. If someone catches a venereal disease by having causal unprotected sex, they may have contributed to their condition. A long time smoker with lung cancer, may have contributed to their condition. Many people suffering from depression have done something to contribute to their condition.
The reason it is considered "fascist" or "racist" to suggest that some depressed persons are partially at fault is not because it isn't true. We condemn placing blame, because doing so will usually make the person's very real condition worse. The depression I suffered was debilitating, and it was not caused by a chemical imbalance. It was absolutely caused by specific events. Those events were initiated by my own poor behavior. Every case of depression is different though.
Like others have said, some don't even class it as an illness, saying it's just a 'bad day' or 'feeling blue' without actually understanding that it is a lot more than that.