One there is a difference between experiencing sadness

One of the most common mental illnesses is depression. People suffering from depression experience feelings of sadness, despair, emptiness, or loss of interest. Many cases of depression are never treated, and others go untreated for years, even though depression is a treatable illness. (Willis, 2007). It’s estimated that approximately 80% of people with clinical depression are not being treated for their symptoms. A huge reason for this is because of the stigma surrounding depression. The purpose of this paper is to explain the common stigmas associated with depression, the effects this has on sufferers, and solutions to this problem. “People often feel there is a stigma attached to depression. They feel ashamed and embarrassed to admit to being depressed.” (Willis, 2007).Common StigmasThere are many stigmas surrounding depression such as being lazy, lying for attention, and taking tons of medicine. One common stigma surrounding depression is that snapping out of it if you wanted to, is easy. Depression is a serious illness, not a sign of weakness or a character flaw and people need to focus on that. (M. and F, 2011).A common stigma associated with depression is that the sufferer is just being lazy. Many people think that the sufferer should find things they like and become happy, or work harder at getting through their issues. A lot of people don’t believe that those struggling with depression are actually trying to overcome their struggles. Too often, people mistakenly attribute laziness to people who have mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders that impair their ability to work and be active. It is true that depression can be influenced by life events, but there is more to it than just being a little sad about something. Depression may be caused by a variety of factors, and it is different for every person with the disorder. Some factors include biological differences, brain chemistry, hormones, and inherited traits according to the Mayo Clinic. (Davey, 2013).Another common stigma is that the sufferer is faking for attention. Many people also think that depression is something people come up with as an excuse for how they are feeling and that they should just get over it. They don’t realise that there is more to depression than just feeling a little bit sad. Depression is not an excuse people came up with to explain how they were feeling. The National Institute of Mental Health points out that there is a difference between experiencing sadness for a small period of time and someone’s daily life becoming affected by the symptoms of this illness for several months or even years. That’s why it’s important not to brush off depression as something a person will easily just ‘get over’. Stigmatizing the illness or understating its effects won’t help anyone heal. (Clifton, 2015).Finally, some people believe that antidepressants fix everything. People say to just pop some pills and get over depression, thinking the medicine will be used forever as a way to stay happy. Sometimes, however, medicine is the worst thing for you. Besides that, there are many other solutions as mentioned later. Either way, medicine is never something you have to stick to forever. Depression can be a treatable illness. Taking antidepressant medication is one option, but many other people might want to use talk therapy as their main treatment instead. Still others use a combination of medicine and therapy. Some people may find that incorporating healthy habits such as exercise and meditation help reduce some of the worst symptoms. All in all, treatment varies from one person to the next. (Clifton, 2015).Effects of StigmaThe effects of stigma have a great impact on the sufferer. There are many social or personal costs, the country loses money, and sometimes stigma can even lead to those who it effects commiting suicide. People are afraid to get help or take medication in fear of being unfairly judged. They might even begin to believe the stigmas themselves. (Wolpert, 2001).Firstly, one effect of stigma and depression is that stigma effects the social and personal lives of those suffering. Stigma is a barrier to health, well being, and quality of life. Stigma contributes to abuse in human rights, less access to jobs and houses, and bad self esteem. (Wallerstein, 2003). People still try to pretend that depression doesn’t exist, or that a depressed person can be talked out of it. The stigmatization of depression obstructs helping or encouraging those struggling with depression. Treating depression as a personal problem instead of a real illness can lead depressed people to avoid seeking professional help and instead blame themselves for their depression.Secondly, sufferers delaying getting help causes worse problems down the road and then it costs more money to fix them. This is bad for the economy, especially when people can’t work. Depression can make people lose the will and energy to do even simple things, such as getting out of bed. Depressed people are more likely to get sick, have accidents, and not eat or sleep properly. In severe cases, they are also more likely to take their own lives. Depression is already the cause of almost thirty percent of all days taken off work. Experts at the World Health Organization predict that depression will be the world’s second leading root cause of death by 2020. Despite this, it is thought that doctors may fail to diagnose up to half of all cases of depression. Many people are too embarrassed to talk about their problems or seek treatment. Instead, they may suffer in silence for years. This is sad, because in most cases depression can be treated. Suicide also costs a lot of money for the government, as you can see. (Flynn, 2015).A final effect of stigma is the worst; suicide. Stigma can cause mental illness and emotional trauma and often will lead to suicidal thoughts. 6,000 people commit suicide every year and the figure is rising. Currently, that’s one person every two hours, every day. (Clasp Charity, 2017). Experts at the World Health Organization predict that depression will be the world’s second leading root cause of death by 2020. Depression is already the cause of almost thirty percent of all days taken off work. Many people assume that depression is just a part of getting older. According to a 1996 survey by the National Mental Health Association, more than one half of women believe it is normal for a woman to be depressed during menopause and that treatment is not necessary, and more than 50 percent of women believe depression is a normal part of aging. (Willis, 2007). This is false.SolutionsThere are solutions to stopping the stigma surrounding depression such as talking about it, going to therapy, and doing research.The simplest solution is just talking about it and learning more. “Public opinion about depression is changing. A survey by the National Mental Health Association in 2001 found that 55% of Americans polled believed that depression is a disease. In a similar survey ten years before, this figure was only 38%. As general beliefs about depression change, and as people who suffer from depression tell their stories, the number of people willing to seek treatment should increase. Some of the stigma should begin to fall away and depression can be handled like any other medical condition.” (Willis, 2007). ¬†While respondents considered it important to facilitate a better understanding of mental illness on the part of their closest friends and relatives, the idea of being actively involved in educating the lay public received comparatively little support.Another solution is going to therapy and getting help from a professional. This helps shed some light on what is going on in a true and unbiased way with the goal of helping. Many people, particularly women, assume that depression is just a part of getting older. According to a 1996 survey by the National Mental Health Association, more than one half of women believe it is normal for a woman to be depressed during menopause and that treatment is not necessary, and more than one half of women believe depression is a normal part of aging. This is not true and proper treatment could help. A final solution is researching. The greatest weapon in the battle against stigma is knowledge. Taking time to do research before speaking will help everyone. There should be more information about stigma shown in the media and taught to others for this very reason. Learning the facts about mental illness dispels the myth that mental illness is some kind of personal failing and instead is a real, medical illness with treatment and recovery possibilities.In conclusion, there are a lot of different types of stigma associated with depression that have lasting effects on sufferers. There are also many types of solutions. Talking to others and doing some research could help everyone involved immensely.