Is depression being stigmatised?

Discussion recently in the news about depression has rocketed due to claims by scientists that depression could be linked to violence. An article that particularly caught my eye was highlighted in the Telegraph on a report from Oxford University stating that depression is the root cause of violent crime in Britain for 32,000 people.

Young man lost in depression sitting on ground street subway tunnel

I’m not sure how this really helps anyone, on the contrary it is more likely to have a negative effect, stigmatising something that many  of us have experienced in one form or another. Whether this be your own personal experience of being depressed or knowing someone who has suffered from depression, this kind of research seems unhelpful at the least. It is only fair to note in the article that there was also a response confirming that we should be mindful when using these statistics and how we interpret them. Unfortunately, though, the headline sentences grabbing our attention – “Depression to blame for 46000 violent crimes a year” – will be the one left in most peoples mind.

One of the saddest effects of depression, when talking about serious depression, is just how many people there are who experience high levels of depression and as a result harm themselves. One of the first steps of helping oneself when dealing with mental illness is to accept your need for help. This could be simply confiding in a friend or a loved one or going to see your doctor. Please look at our page on depression to find out more and how we, as counsellors here at Hertford Counselling Service, approach the issue.

An interesting response to the article I have referenced appeared in the Guardian today, warning how crucial our interpretations of these research results are. Take a look by clicking on this link.