During this TED Talk, Kevin Breel talks about the stigma associated with depression. Kevin doesn’t look like a depressed kid – on the surface, he is the captain of his basketball team, comedian, English student of the year, honor roll student, funny, confident, and attended every party. However, he was living two different lives. On the inside he was depressed and considered taking his own life until he said to himself, “I suffer from depression.”
I want to apologize that this topic is not the most uplifting and is difficult to talk about for most people. However, that needs to change. “The first step to solving any problem is recognizing there is one,” but society hasn’t recognized this one. Depression is a serious illness. Every 30 seconds, someone somewhere in the world takes his or her life.
Mental health illnesses have always held a stigma within our society. In the past, people with mental health illnesses were declared crazy and put into a mental hospital. Our society has made great strides in developing cures and creating awareness for so many diseases, except mental health. One part of Kevin’s talk that stood out to me is at minute 6:30. It is at this point where he discusses society’s view on the topic of depression.
“So how we can we expect to find an answer if we are afraid of the question?”
In one of my other courses, we have been discussing public health. Throughout our existence we have gone through numerous stages of public: protection through social structure, miasma control, contagion control, preventive medicine, primary health care, and health promotion. Since the 1990’s we have been in the health promotion stage of public health evolution, which has been characterized as “new public health.” It is in this stage where we need to build health public policy, create supportive environments, strengthen community action, develop personal skills, and reorient health services to better fit our needs. In order to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health illnesses, especially depression, we first need to categorize it as a disease.
Awofeso, Niyi. “What’s New About the “New Public Health”?” American Journal of Public Health 94.5 (2004): 706. Print.