One in 16 young Australians are currently dealing with depression, and to say that depression can be a struggle at time is a huge understatement. Although it can be argued that depression and other mental illnesses are more widely accepted than ever before, many people are still largely uneducated about these mental illnesses, and at times they can be “swept under the rug” or romanticized as some sort of ‘cool’ accessory. Both Kate and Michael have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and they both have experienced being treated differently because of their mental illnesses.
It can be quite a terrifying thing to tell someone that you are struggling with depression, as many people are afraid of being judged or perceived as weak or vulnerable. However, talking to someone about what you’re going through can help to unburden yourself, ease isolation and build a support network. It is because of the stigma associated with depression that people are hesitant to ask for help or advice. Discrimination against people struggling with depression is not uncommon, and this is because of the lack of understanding that many people have in regards to mental illnesses.
“This has a negative impact on the quality of life of people with depression and anxiety, and their carers, affecting access to treatment, employment, housing, insurance and personal relationships. The stigma and discrimination associated with depression and anxiety may be worse than the illnesses themselves.” | beyondblue, 2012
The romanticization of depression has become extremely evident on various social media networks – particularly Tumblr – and this is extremely unfair to those who are actually coping with depression. This is then leading to many young people claiming depression without actually having it, and therefore “embracing this ‘beautiful sadness'”. Of course, the use of social media can be a significant tool in coping and seeking information or advice for someone struggling, but the constant romanticization of depression and photographs of various aspects of self harm can be extremely triggering to someone with a mental illness. Sarah Hartman suggests that the efforts to de-stigmatize mental illnesses have “gotten horrifically confused with a movement to romanticize them,” and this can be extremely problematic for many people.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that depression is more widely accepted than before and that there are now various ways that a person struggling with depression can seek and receive help, but it is still obvious that society needs to be more educated on the topic and find a way to de-stigmatize mental illnesses without romanticizing them along the way.
References for the video:
- Mayo Clinic Staff. February 21st 2014. Depression: (major depressive disorder). Mayo Clinic. [Accessed 26th of October 2014] <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/definition/con-20032977>
- MacLeod, S.S. September 25th 2013. On Tumblr’s Romanticization of Depression. [Accessed 26th of October 2014] <http://astrorice.com/romanticization-of-depression/>
- Hartman, S. December 27th 2013. We Need To Stop Romanticizing Mental Illness. [Accessed 26th of October 2014] <http://thoughtcatalog.com/sarah-hartman/2013/12/we-need-to-stop-romanticizing-mental-illness/>