Popular myths about depression often keep people from getting the treatment they need. We’ve sorted out the facts from the fiction for eight common misconceptions.
Here’s a fact you might not know:Depression is the leading cause of medical disability in the United States. And here’s another: Depression affects roughly 5 to 8 percent of American adults every year. Despite its prevalence, however, many depression myths remain. One reason for the persistence of these myths is that there’s a lot of stigmaaround depression and mental illness. Too often, people who have depression are ashamed to admit it, and those who have never experienced it may think being depressed is a sign of weakness. It’s time to tackle some of the most virulent depression myths.
Psychological research, especially the work of social psychologist Gregory Herek, has concluded that active sharing by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people of what their lives are like with people they know — whether in their families, communities or workplaces and schools — is very likely to reduce others’ prejudice against LGBT people and increase their support for social and political equality.
National Coming Out Day and Tell 3 are grassroots efforts to encourage and facilitate the sort of intergroup contact between LGBT people and non-LGBT people that will reduce the latter’s prejudice and promote their active opposition to discrimination.
Disclosure of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
The disclosure of sexual orientation and gender identity is stressful for a number of reasons. One, people “coming out” do not know how others will react. Two, helping others to overcome their lack of knowledge, reduce their discomfort and increase their empathy is not easy, and this may stir up negative feelings in the person who is coming out because of earlier prejudice or discrimination they have experienced.
The Know Us Project: Reducing Prejudice
The Know Us Project (KUP) uses mental health providers to provide facilitation and support to LGBT people who want to engage in the kind of intergroup contact that reduces prejudice. In the KUP workshops, participants learn to evaluate whether they are ready to act in this way, how to identify people to speak with, and how to reduce the listener’s anxiety in a personal conversation about LGBT issues and use words and body language that will make a conversation more effective. They also learn to address negative feelings they may experience during and after their intergroup contact and learn to cope with those feelings through self-care, stress management and professional help, if needed.
Like anything worthwhile, psychotherapy takes time and effort. And often just getting through the door can be tough.
How do you find a therapist? Where’s the best place to look? Isn’t it pricey? Do you even need to go?
In poll released to coincide with National Depression Screening Day, most said they would seek treatment if needed.
While everyone seems to agree that adolescents often have a negative opinion of mental illness — a perception that prevents many teens from obtaining the care they need — the means to overcome the dilemma remains elusive.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve note that the relative dearth of data regarding stigma in this age group makes tackling the topic particularly tough.
Not only is adolescent mental health stigma rarely studied, but even less is known about the accuracy of measures used to assess it.
Melissa Pinto, Ph.D., R.N., KL2 Clinical Research Scholar and an instructor of nursing at the university’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing comments: “We need to find a reliable and valid way to measure the presence of stigma associated with mental illness among adolescents.”
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 8, 2012