When someone is depressed, it isn’t something that you can necessarily see. A person may be ill but it isn’t the same in visual terms as, say, a broken leg is. The negative consequence of this is that depression isn’t always taken seriously. People make ignorant comments such as, “Pull yourself together” or “Get over it”. These type of comments are clearly made by people who have little understanding of depression and mental illness.
A broken leg could possibly be compared to Alzheimer’s in that it is clear that the body is ‘broken’. There is clear evidence that a person with either of these issues would need help. But what if someone doesn’t have a broken leg but they do have muscle or ligament damage? This would still get treated even though it isn’t a full blown disorder in terms of visual evidence. Muscle or ligament damage could be seriously painful and hinder a person in their daily lives. The same applies to depression. It may not be a full blown break down of the brain as Alzheimer’s is but it can be just as debilitating to a person’s functioning and well being.
It is less visible but equally disturbing to an individual. Thankfully, the tide is turning and society is becoming more aware of mental illness and it’s effects. When you consider the statistics, that one in four will experience mental illness at some point in their life and that mental illness is on the rise, it’s about time we took it seriously.
In my opinion, the foundation of a happy, well run society is one that has good access to mental health services. If a person is ‘broken’ inside they can’t hold down a job properly, they often can’t connect with others and behave in a productive way. It makes sense that people who are functioning well and are happy will give back far more to society in terms of the economy, generosity to others and kindness in general.
Depression is a serious condition and the more we invest (Government funding, awareness etc) in treating this disorder the better society will be for it.