‘What’s Hidden: Attitudes Towards Depression’ – Final Assignment

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:

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‘What Is Hidden’ – My Assignment Proposal

For weeks now I have struggled to come up with any ideas for the final assignment, and even now I am slightly unsure. Many of the ideas I have had so far seem quite far-fetched and unlikely for a mere Journalism student to complete. However, I have luckily had an idea that could very well work. I am hoping to investigate the change in society’s attitude towards depression, comparing societal attitudes of the 1980s/1990s to attitudes of 2014. Therefore, I am hoping to discover whether we, as a society, have become more supportive and more accepting of those suffering from depression in the past 30-40 years. For the talents, I will be using one of my close friends who has been diagnosed with depression in the past few years, and perhaps my mum who has lived with depression since her younger years. The music accompanying the assignment will be slow and perhaps a little dark in order to establish the mood of the assignment, and the ambient sounds will include doors closing, panicked breathing and perhaps the removal of anti-depressants from their packets. The videos will include the talents going about their everyday lives, whereas the original photographs will show the talents possibly hiding away in their bedrooms and isolating themselves from society. I will also be sourcing posters and videos from organizations aimed at supporting those with depression and including them in my assignment. As for the use of text, I will be presenting statistics and facts about depression, along with the stories of my talents. With this assignment, I am hoping to show how societal attitudes have changed in the last 30-40 years. I am quite excited about this assignment as I do enjoy using iMovie and such, and I am hoping to create something powerful and informative.

****** 26th of October 2014 – Edited my idea

After conducting my first interview and then also conducting a spontaneous one straight after, I have decided to slightly alter my topic and discover rather how society perceives depression now and how the symptoms can be “hidden” and such. For this topic, I have interviewed two of my close friends who are currently struggling with depression and anxiety. Instead of photographs showing the talents hiding in their bedrooms, I have decided to take happy photographs of them and then have them discussing their experiences with depression in a video, juxtaposing the two moods.