Depression is a mental illness that has been around for centuries, but is only recently coming into the light and being more fully understood. When it comes to mental health issues, society as a whole appears to be very slow moving towards acceptance and getting rid of the stigma which surrounds them.
Whilst people who find a physical health problem are likely to try to make the first appointment they can get at their doctor’s office or even take themselves to the Emergency Room, those with depression are still less likely to look for professional help. Here’s why:
Depression itself can be a patient’s biggest enemy when it comes to getting help and support. Although depression can certainly be managed well and in some cases even completely cured with the right treatments and support, many patients put off getting help for a variety of different reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that it is an illness that can affect your thought process, your motivation, and your ability to do everyday things.
A patient suffering from chronic depression may feel unable to do simple tasks, such as taking a shower or even getting out of bed. This itself can make it very difficult for people suffering from depression to get help for themselves. It can be useful for a friend or close relative to encourage a depressed person when they are seeking help.
Another reason people are still suffering from depression in silence is social stigma. These people are still having their illness used against them as an insult, putting up with ignorant comments from people who have absolutely no understanding of the issue. In some cases, they are even made to feel that somehow, their mental illness is all their own fault.
At other times, people suffering from depressive disorders may often be made to feel they are not believed, or are ‘seeking attention’ by speaking out about their issues or allowing others to see how unwell they are. Although most health professionals are very understanding and non-judgmental when it comes to mental health issues, the obstacles faced in society can understandably put people off from getting help with depression.
Lack of Understanding
Even in the healthcare industry, there is still a chronic lack of understanding surrounding mental health issues. Paramedics, for example, tend to receive much more training on the physical ‘first response’ side of things, compared to little training when it comes to dealing with people who are mentally unwell or have suicidal thoughts, for example.
Mental health beds are few and far between, and treatment and therapy for depression can be costly and is not always covered by a patient’s insurance. Often, people suffering from depression will be unable to obtain the help they need the first time they ask, and not bother going back.
It’s 2016: Every mental health patient deserves an adequate amount of non-judgmental treatment, help and support.