1. Depression isn’t a real medical problem.
False - Depression is a very real illness that affects a person’s emotional, social, behavioral and physical health. There are genetic and biological factors that predispose you to mental illness, but your biography (life experiences) also influence its development. Almost 20 million Americans will experience depression in a given year.
2. Depression is a problem of the western industrialized world and not of developing countries.
False: Depression affects all people in all cultures across the world. In fact, by the year 2020, depression will be THE second leading cause of disability world-wide.
3. Nowadays, stigma for people living with depression has declined - given all the scientific data that supports it as a real illness.
False: Though evidence-based research has shown us that depression is a real medical disorder, stigma is on the rise instead of on the decline. There is so much shame regarding mental illness that statistics show only 1 in 5 actually seeks treatment. Studies have shown that knowledge of depression appears by itself insufficient to dispel stigma...but that positive and inspiring stories of people living successfully with depression do the most to dispel stigma.
4. Depression does not affect children or teenagers.
False: Teens, young children and *even babies* can experience depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents are depressed in any given year.
5. Depression is a normal part of the aging process.
False: Depression is not a typically expected experience for senior adults and is often undiagnosed in the elderly. Research shows that the elderly are the highest group that die by suicide.
6. Depression will go away on its own.
False: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away or brushed aside with a change in attitude. Ignoring the problem doesn’t give it the slip either. Depression is treatable illness, with a success rate of over 90% for those who seek intervention.
7. Seriously depressed people cannot lead productive lives.
False: Many with depression can live full, productive lives. In fact, many high profile people, including President Abraham Lincoln, Cartoonist Charles Schulz, Artist Michelangelo, Actor Harrison Ford, Choreographer Alvin Ailey, Entrepreneur Richard Branson, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Rocker Bruce Springsteen and Baseballer Ken Griffey, Jr. have been very successful in their chosen professions.
Dr. Deborah Serani, author of the award winning ”Living with Depression” by Rowman and Littlefield, is a go-to expert on the subject of depression.