Two in three men are embarrassed to talk about depression, while one-quarter view it as a state of mind rather than a medical condition, new research has shown.
‘Mind Yourself', the Lundbeck Mental Health Barometer, has been charting attitudes to depression and anxiety in Ireland for the last six years. The barometer aims to give an overview of how these conditions affect those living with them, as well as their friends and family.
The latest findings show that the majority of men under the age of 25 are embarrassed to discuss depression. Overall, two-thirds of men of all ages are embarrassed to talk about the condition.
"It is worrying to see young men stating that they are embarrassed to talk about depression, particularly given that they are at a high risk of suicide. The attitude of depression being a state of mind or a weakness will not encourage young men to approach their healthcare professional for help. It may not be easy to take that first step, but there is help available for those who need it," commented Prof Patricia Casey, a consultant psychiatrist in the Mater Hospital, Dublin.
Meanwhile the research found that almost one in five people know someone close to them who has depression, while 12% know someone with anxiety.
The findings also revealed that among adults, there is a growing perception that depression is most common among the unemployed. This perception could be a result of the continued economic recession and reflect a narrower understanding of depression and its pervasiveness.
In Ireland, it is estimated that some 400,000 people suffer from depression at any one time. Symptoms may include feeling unhappy most of the time, a loss of interest in life, feeling anxious, agitated or irritable, feeling guilty, changes to sleeping patterns, changes in appetite, feeling tired a lot of the time or low energy levels.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and/or are having any thoughts of suicide or death, talk to a healthcare professional or with a mental health support groups such as AWARE (call 1890 303 302).
For more information on depression, see also our Depression Clinic here