The last major mental health analysis published for Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue indicates that 7.5 percent, or 187,000 Seattle residents reported having a major depressive episode in the year 2010. The rainy weather is not the only contributing factor to those who are clinically depressed. Most people are familiar with depression being a label for sadness, but clinical depression has multiple dimensions.
Along with overwhelming sadness, clinical depression and major depressive disorder include of loss of interest in activities the sufferer once found enjoyable, as well as shifts in behavior. Depression is a long-term illness and can cause persistent feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts.
It takes a lot of courage for a person suffering from depression to admit they are depressed. The stigma of depression is that only “crazy” people get it. The fallacy is that it “goes away on its own.”
In a society that looks upon mental health as a weakness, a depressed person may keep their depression a secret, causing the cycle to repeat itself. In 2007, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide is a direct symptom of depression.
Overcoming depression takes self-awareness. A depressed person must realize that his or her life has been held hostage by this debilitating illness, and if he or she cannot seek support or help from a loved one due to the fear of mental health stigma, they must seek it professionally which can be daunting.
In 2009, BusinessWeek Magazine published that Seattle had the country’s 6th highest depression rate. With more public awareness and compassion, those who suffer from depression should be encouraged to seek help.