Depression Discrimination Drops
24 March 2014 at 11:05 am
Discriminating and stigmatising attitudes towards people with depression and anxiety have steadily decreased in Australia over the past decade, according to a new report.
The report by depression Not for Profit, beyondblue has also revealed that nearly two-thirds of Australians or a family member have experienced depression.
The Depression Monitor report, which tracks public attitudes from beyondblue surveys held every two or three years since 2004, showed stigma surrounding mental health problems had declined with significantly fewer people believing people with severe depression were unpredictable, a danger to others or had themselves to blame.
The number of respondents who said people with severe depression were a ‘danger to others’ fell 8 per cent from 2004 to 2012, the number who said ‘they have themselves to blame’ decreased 6 per cent and the number who said they were ‘unpredictable’ fell 10 per cent.
However, one in four thought people should ‘pull themselves together’ and one in seven said they were ‘weak willed’.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said it was very encouraging to see that attitudes had improved markedly since the first Depression Monitor survey in 2004.
“People who were aware of beyondblue were much more likely to have better knowledge of depressive symptoms, so it appears our message is getting through,” Carnell said.
“What the Depression Monitor shows is that more people now feel comfortable talking to family and friends if they are depressed, and more people than ever before are seeking information and help for depression,” she said.
“The more we work to get these messages into the community, the more we believe that treatment rates will continue to grow. The earlier people get support and treatment, the quicker they recover.
“The figures show that huge inroads have already been made, but it is alarming that one in four people still think people with depression are dangerous to others. This feeds into discriminatory attitudes and the stigma associated with depression, which often stops people getting the help they need because they feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Carnell said.
Of 64 per cent of Australians who said they or a family member had experienced depression, 27 per cent had received help in the past 12 months.
The number of people who indicated they or a member of their family had received help for depression at some stage was 88 per cent in 2012, up nine per cent from 2004.
The Depression Monitor also revealed awareness of beyondblue skyrocketed from 48 per cent in 2004 to 89 per cent in 2012.