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#1
The death of Robin Williams has brought depression to the forefront of the media, it seems.

It's still a taboo topic, however. It may be changing, but more has to be done.

But what?

More education about mental health? Better public understanding?

I'll be honest, the death of Robin Williams reminded me of a friend I have who I suspect[/I may be feeling suicidal, but I have no idea how to approach him nor do I know whether he would take steps for help (he's already on anti-depressants) if it came to it. I'm not even sure if his family are supportive or understand the situation.

I think, when you look at the world economy, socio-economic factors, and people's ever engaging relationship with technology, that depression is going to be a big problem for a lot of people.
#2
It sounds generic, but taking away the stigma is a big part of it. Depression is unfortunately understood by many to be a weakness and not a sickness, and suicide is regarded as quitting rather than succumbing.

How we do that, I don't know.
#3


Right boffins, let's get this sorted!

Personally, I think that the main issue with mental health problems is that despite progress, there is still a lot of stigma associated with them. This leads people who are experiencing difficulties with mental health to feel ashamed, and not seek help.

I don't know if this is how everybody feels, but it's certainly how I felt for the better part of a decade before finally seeking help.

I think the biggest thing that we can do is to increase public awareness and understanding, in an effort to remove that stigma.
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#4
Along with taking away the stigma just educating people would be great. Too many people think that depression is just being sad. They look at people who struggle with it and say "you have x, y, and z and everything is going great for you in life, how could you possibly be depressed?"

Too many people just don't understand that depression isn't sadness.
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#5
And where's the best place to start educating the public? Schools? Advertisements? TV debates?

Dare I say...social media?
#6
Eat xanex, drink booze.

Not at the same time mind you.

Anti-depressants only work on 1/3rd of people who try them, and even then they won't do a lot to a chronically depressed person.
Last edited by stratkat at Aug 14, 2014,
#7
Quote by Philip_pepper
And where's the best place to start educating the public? Schools? Advertisements? TV debates?

Dare I say...social media?

I couldn't even tell you honestly
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#8
I think taking away the stigma is a great first step. It seems like people are starting to blame victims of suicide less than they used to, and instead are recognizing that depression is a potentially fatal condition.

As far as practical solutions, I think just continuing to allow people to have greater access to mental health care (taking away stigma can also help those who need help not feel ashamed that they have to seek help, even in private).

More research into pharmaceutical solutions to correct chemical imbalances and how to make them more effective for all types of people might be helpful too.

I don't think the cause of all depression is a genetic imbalance in brain chemistry, so I don't think everyone who is depressed needs a pill to get better, but there definitely seems to be certain situations in which correcting an underlying chemical balance that might have a genetic cause is of great help to that person. I think furthering our understanding of how these drugs work and how to make better drugs would be a great thing.
#9
Quote by Philip_pepper
And where's the best place to start educating the public? Schools? Advertisements? TV debates?

Dare I say...social media?


Schools. If we set up the right building blocks now with our children about the reality of depression, then it will have a flow on effect. Mental health education, I think, should definitely be included throughout school.

There's no overnight solution to this problem, it will take years of co-ordination before it gets better. Look back 40 years when depression wasn't even considered to be an illness, we've definitely come a long way since then.

Ongoing education through Advertisements, TV, Social Media etc will also assist, but if we do more work to set up the next generation to deal with and understand depression better, things will work out in the long run.
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#10
From my personal experience, I know plenty of people who are on anti depressants and open about it, or have been and are open about it. People so far in this thread have said stigma, but is it still that taboo? Anyone i who saw anything remotely against Robin Williams was completely blasted for it, so I think public opinion is already where it needs to be.

I think now what needs to happen is we need schools to teach what the basic forms of depression / anxiety disorders are. I've studied human biology so I understand them all, but most people wouldn't. There's also common misconceptions like schizophrenia is the same as bipolar disorder, so again that just points to education.

People need to know what they are feeling is normal and people around them need to know how to help, because like I said I don't think anyone cares anymore (in a good way).
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#11
Quote by Shabalaba
From my personal experience, I know plenty of people who are on anti depressants and open about it, or have been and are open about it. People so far in this thread have said stigma, but is it still that taboo?


Yes. I imagine it's not quite as bad as it used to be. But still too many people have antiquated views when it comes to depression and suicide.

I'm pretty much going to copy and paste from the hugging thread, what happened to me just 2 days ago, the day after Robin Williams' death.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=32881402&postcount=4433

So yeah, some people still do have a problem with understanding.

I myself am seriously considering calling my GP today and to book another appointment to get back into therapy again. Because I really need to work out some way of being able to cope at home. It's not just with depression are my parents manipulative, it's with all sorts of things.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Aug 14, 2014,
#12
Sorry to hear that mate.

I think it's becoming less of the norm then, especially to our generation. We're the ones reflecting future opinion, and the stigma is already gone for most young people imo, so we need to teach about the subject itself. No offence, but your parents are history and will have extremely out dated views within our life time. Same thing goes for any social issue (racism, homosexuality, mental health issues) in that we are becoming more educated and more open minded about everything, it's just time.
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#14
I agree that the younger generation are more open towards people with depression, but perhaps my anecdote shows that it's the older generation that needs educating?
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#15
Education (especially secondary education) is a good place to start. I've already been vocal about the way sex education is taught, but the mental health segment of that health class is worse. We were told to make a timeline of our life and to cut in half. This 'proves' that suicide is selfish somehow. He followed with a rant against those with depression, etc. People with depression just need to exercise more or some shit and it's their fault for not just turning their life around. This is not an attitude that should be promoted to 15 year olds, many of which are physically and mentally abusive towards other students.

Of course that's a narrow example of a broader issue. I do think that all of the ideas in this thread will help, but I'm not sure how to handle this on an individual level. Sorry about your friend Phillip, I have no idea what to tell you.
#16
The younger generation is less judging but most people still don't get it. There's a lot of unintentionally hurtful things that people still say. A lot of "just cheer up" or "you never try to be happy anyway" and similar things are really common to hear.

I know this is only anecdotal but an example I have is my girlfriend. She's really supportive of me and is usually really helpful but sometimes she'll get frustrated and tired of dealing with me all the time and lash out with telling me I need to grow up or that I need to get my life together. She's only trying to look out for me and help me succeed but for someone who's been dealing with depression for half his life being told to grow up is really hurtful.

Another example is I heard of someone saying that it was a shame that Robin Williams killed himself because of his depression. Then they followed it up with it's something we've all been through.

What I'm getting at is that there's still a stigma that depression isn't that bad. There's still a stigma that depression is just sadness. So in turn there's kind of still a stigma that people who are suffering from it are just too sensitive and let regular sadness get to them too much.
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#18
I think that these ideas need to be included with all mental health issues. there seems to be this stigma with all mental problems.
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#19
everybody says here the younger generation stands open for depression yet they feel the pressure to be cool and share only happy stuff on social media, get likes, be popular... in my opinion lots of youngsters say they are open minded about depression yet i don't think alot of people dare to admit it when they have a problem.
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#20
it cant, medical science is very primitive when it comes to mental health, a lot of research is needed. research can only be one once the stigma is lifted, which we won't see for a long while yet. Everyone posts about Robin Williams on facebook, and stuff like that when a celebrity dies, but then they go right back to not giving a shit
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#21
Quote by lt mittens
everybody says here the younger generation stands open for depression yet they feel the pressure to be cool and share only happy stuff on social media, get likes, be popular... in my opinion lots of youngsters say they are open minded about depression yet i don't think alot of people dare to admit it when they have a problem.


That's because even with people being more open minded it's still seen as a weakness, or if not that, something that is not a difficult fix. It's really hard to admit you have these problems to people. It feels like you're weak and that since you're aware of it you are capable of changing it without letting anyone know (and there's that additional element where you don't want to be a burden on everyone else). Yet the thoughts never go away.

This isn't something I have a solution to, on an individual or societal level. On paper there's plenty of options to treat depression but in practice they just don't always work, especially in the long run.
#22
Quote by Bladez22
it cant, medical science is very primitive when it comes to mental health, a lot of research is needed. research can only be one once the stigma is lifted, which we won't see for a long while yet. Everyone posts about Robin Williams on facebook, and stuff like that when a celebrity dies, but then they go right back to not giving a shit

I don't know, depression is pretty well documented, all we really need now is to better understand why exactly serotonin is involved and why SSRI's make the difference they do in some people. Once that's figured out we'll have found a treatment that works for everybody. Even then we have pretty decent treatments already. There's still work to be done but the state of it is far from primitive.

Also the stigma doesn't need to be lifted for research to be done. Research is constantly ongoing with depression.

I agree with you about the last part though.
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#23
Im a medical student and it's clear that depression isn't particularly well understood at all and even some more junior doctors have a difficulty really understanding what it means.

This video/lecture (only half an hour: give it a watch!) is by far the best description of depression that I have ever heard...

'The opposite of depression isn't happiness, but vitality.'

http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share
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#24
Quote by caeser1156
I don't know, depression is pretty well documented, all we really need now is to better understand why exactly serotonin is involved and why SSRI's make the difference they do in some people. Once that's figured out we'll have found a treatment that works for everybody. Even then we have pretty decent treatments already. There's still work to be done but the state of it is far from primitive.

Also the stigma doesn't need to be lifted for research to be done. Research is constantly ongoing with depression.

I agree with you about the last part though.

Uh... the thing is, there's a lot known about the incidence of depression. The actual cause is a total black box, though. The 'chemical imbalance' story(I won't call it a theory, because that devalues the word 'theory') is backed up by precisely no evidence; so while SSRIs work in some cases(slightly more often than placebo), depression is sufficiently complex that you can't attribute all of that improvement to the medication alone.
Plus, there's some evidence that certain 'talking therapies' are more effective, both at removing the symptoms of depression, and at preventing recurrence.
#25
its in primitive stages when compared to the rest of medicine, 30 years ago it wasn't considered an illness. It also doesn't matter how much progress we make, until the stigma is gone, 2/3 people affected by it won't get any help
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#26
Quote by Bladez22
its in primitive stages when compared to the rest of medicine, 30 years ago it wasn't considered an illness. It also doesn't matter how much progress we make, until the stigma is gone, 2/3 people affected by it won't get any help

But then again, 2/3 of people affected may suffer from 'mild' depression, which responds well to the support that can be offered by friends, family and(to a lesser extent, maybe) colleagues.
#27
Most people reaction for depression:

"that's not depression, just get over with it, lol"

Which is equal to:

"you don't have broken arm, just get over with it, lol"
#30
I don't know if there's a lot that can be done on a big scale. I think it comes down to the relationships we have and how we were raised (and some genetic stuff in there, but I won't go into that right now).

The painful things we need to say can't be said on social media. We need intimate relationships with people who truly care about us. We need to be able to be who we are with other people and be accepted for that.

To me, Robin Williams's depression and suicide were not that surprising. Was he ever himself. Was he always putting on a show? Did he ever dare to be not funny? not brilliant? We all need that.

Sometimes our dysfunctional upbringing prevents us from making the close, intimate relationships which we need in order not to fall into depression. I don't know if there is a cure, but I think it starts with each one of us. We could all take a course on how to truly listen to each other. We could all try to be understanding toward others. Maybe try to go one day without judging a single person. What do you think?
#31
Quote by Bladez22
its in primitive stages when compared to the rest of medicine, 30 years ago it wasn't considered an illness. It also doesn't matter how much progress we make, until the stigma is gone, 2/3 people affected by it won't get any help


I don't know that the stigma around depression is really as prevalent in today's society as it is made out. At least not in my country. It is definitely still there, particularly in the workplace/employment front, but I think in general people are pretty accepting and understanding when people suffer from depression.

I also don't think that it is the social stigma that prevents sufferers of depression from seeking help.

Like many mental illnesses people with depression don't always see the world in a healthy or accurate way.

Consider for a moment paranoid schizophrenia. Sufferers of this mental illness think that the world is out to get them. The world is not out to get them, they just have a warped filter that distorts their perspective into believing that people are focused on them for some malevolent reasons.

Similarly sufferers of depression will often feel that talking to someone about their problems, or asking for help will mean that they are a failure, or useless. This is due to a warped filter that distorts their perspective of the world regardless of whether those people actually would think anything negative about them at all.

We should continue with campaigns to remove the stigma around mental illness in general.

We should also focus on educating people on how to recognize the signs of depression in those around them and what to do about it when if they think they do recognize it.

---

EDIT:
Quote by GameSkate
Most people reaction for depression:

"that's not depression, just get over with it, lol"

Which is equal to:

"you don't have broken arm, just get over with it, lol"

That's not a social stigma but a lack of the knowledge or understanding needed to recognize depression (or a broken arm). Which is what I was trying to get at.
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#32
Quote by 20Tigers
...
Similarly sufferers of depression will often feel that talking to someone about their problems, or asking for help will mean that they are a failure, or useless. This is due to a warped filter that distorts their perspective of the world regardless of whether those people actually would think anything negative about them at all.



I don't know about other people, but I know I've never sought help because I don't want to spill my guts to a number of idiot doctors who couldn't give a shit about me before I find that one who's intelligent and caring and competent as a therapist to actually help me.

And I don't want to talk to the people I know because, how awkward. I have one friend who understands and is in a world of depression herself, but she's thousands of miles away.

It's really not about stigma (for me). Perhaps I'm too arrogant, but I can't open myself up to just anyone.
#33
Quote by InGrayScale
I don't know about other people, but I know I've never sought help because I don't want to spill my guts to a number of idiot doctors who couldn't give a shit about me before I find that one who's intelligent and caring and competent as a therapist to actually help me.

And I don't want to talk to the people I know because, how awkward. I have one friend who understands and is in a world of depression herself, but she's thousands of miles away.

It's really not about stigma (for me). Perhaps I'm too arrogant, but I can't open myself up to just anyone.


Are there any online forums for sufferers?
#34
According to some column in one of the more leading papers here in the Netherlands, we're living in a 'sharing society', where we feel the urge to share whatever happens in our lives with hundreds of people.

That statement alone makes me wanna shoot somebody.
#35
Quote by Jehannum
Are there any online forums for sufferers?


Actually, I don't even look because I have enough casual online relationships, I don't need more. What I need are more intimate relationships in real life and I'm trying to cultivate those now. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be with my children, since I spend all of my time with them. I have to wait 'til they grow up so I can talk with them. Of course, I won't be able to share a lot of things about myself to them, but that's really not the point. It's knowing that someone knows me and cares deeply about me.
#36
First of all, people need to understand that depression isn't itself always a solitary disease, and that it is often just a symptom of a more significant mental illness. Whenever mental health is brought up it's always depression this and depression that, but truthfully we'll never get anywhere like that. We need to improve our thoughts toward mental illness on a macro level, before we can start figuring out how to approach individual illnesses.
#37
I was watching an LP gaming video the other day, completely unrelated, but the commentator was talking about depression and comedians and fame and how they all link. Fame makes you incredibly lonely, for all the people that "know" you, because it gets to a point where all of the new people you will meet will only "know" you through your fame and not as a person. That isolates you, and even if you aren't depressed before it can breed that constant sadness. Then you have fewer and fewer people to talk to about it, which is where Robin Williams ended up. Just being the sad clown to make us happy, disregarding himself.
Everyone needs someone to talk to, to understand them as a being. Not just what they are.

#38
Mental health in general is not taken as seriously as physical health, and people are more sympathetic to physical issues and tend to either overlook or demonize mental illnesses.

People like to complain about how useful cancer awareness campaigns really are because everyone knows about it already, but cancer used to be seen as a personal, moral failing and these campaigns changed this perception over the span of a few decades. Even so, many cancer patients do blame themselves for it. If this ubiquitous disease is still in the process of being "accepted" mental health awareness still has a long way to go. Even if people around you accept it there's always the problem of people refusing to employ you once they find out. This would not be an issue for many other illnesses. And depression is viewed as more benign than many other mental illnesses in terms of its effect on others so, indeed, there is a VERY long way to go.
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#39
Understand some of us can't be helped and don't want it so stopping thinking you have the answer is a start.


Pretending to give a shit because someone famous died, isn't.
Last edited by Wormholes at Aug 14, 2014,
#40
Quote by GameSkate
Most people reaction for depression:

"that's not depression, just get over with it, lol"

Which is equal to:

"you don't have broken arm, just get over with it, lol"


Yeah. This pisses me off so much.
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