Depression is extremely common – and yet, there remains a stigma associated with it, and with mental illness in general.If you were to develop high blood pressure, catch a virus, or break your arm,friends, family, and even strangers will rush to help, with sympathy and care. However, if you were to tell the same people you’re suffering from depression, chances are they may ignore or deny the problem – or run the other way.
The stigma surrounding depression is real and can be disheartening. Fortunately, the tide is changing, slowly but surely. More young people than ever before are leading the way in helping to break the cycle of stigma surrounding this all-too-common mental health issue.
How to Break the Stigma of Depression
What keeps the stigma of depression alive is a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding about the disorder itself. The best way to fight that? Through education, certainly – but there are also concrete steps you can take to ensure the disorder is put in its place (i.e., that it’s nowhere near as important as YOU), and so you know you’re not alone in this battle.
Here are five things everyone can do to help:
- Arm Yourself With Information.If you suffer from depression, discovering the potential causes or triggers for you can help separate the disorder from who you are – and provide helpful knowledge about avoiding or lessening the risks of depressive episodes. If you are a loved one or ally of someone with depression, you can arm yourself with facts about what depression is, as well as what it isn’t.
- Reframe the Conversation. Consider the language you use when you discuss depression. Avoid placing blame or describing yourself as a victim. Learn to separate the person from the illness. Try to reframe your discussions to define depression much like you would any other health concern requiring a professional diagnosis and treatment. Always put the person before the disease, affirming a person’s value and worth at every opportunity.
- Share the Story. This could mean sharing your story, where and when you feel safe – which can work wonders toward helping others know it’s okay to discuss difficulties they may be having. Talking openly about mental health issues can help lessen its stigma. Keeping secrets only makes depression, or any problem, seem bigger and scarier than it really is. Sharing can also help you feel less isolated and more connected to others, which can have a significant impact on someone with depression.
- Seek Treatment. You require care from time to time to be healthy. When you’re physically ill and require a doctor’s care, you go get it. The same should be true for your mental health. psychotherapy, medication, and outpatient therapies are simplytools that can provide relief from symptoms that may be affecting your personal or professional life.
- Stand Up for Others. Sometimes, it’s easier to stand up for others than for ourselves. Showing compassion for others with mental health issues is one way we can help ease another’s load. Being kinder to ourselvesand others is the first step toward changing the world.
How to Tell If It’s Depression
Signs and symptoms of depression may include:
- Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue or low-energy
- Having no appetite – or overeating
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
Help for Depression – Without Blame or Shame – in Virginia
Are you or a loved one feeling depressed? Get the expert, professional help you need at Epic Health Partners in Danville, Martinsville, and Richmond, Virginia. Call usat (434) 835-4601 today or request an appointment now.