Found a very interesting article with several links to studies that discusses multiple stigma’s for various groups in society.
MDD or Major depressive disorder is an underdiagnosed condition. Often its not the medical professionals that miss the signs, but rather the patients who are covering up and hiding symptoms due to stigmatism. Race as an example is a factor as many minorities are already dealing with accepted social profiles (although this is changing) the mere fact you are a minority (there are less people that look like you) could be an important factor in whether you have depression. Often, we see minority groups that live near each other, there is a reason for that beyond our social constructs. Simply put, humans are social creatures and we want to be around people who we believe are like ourselves.
Then there are men. Some men suffer in silence, but why? “As to why the men did not seek help for depression or sadness, the main themes focused on weakness and loss of masculinity for doing so.” Again, this specific social stigma is changing but not fast enough if you ask me.
College students were also studied. College has become a far more competitive environment than it was. If you are a Gen Xer like me, you went to college in the 90’s. Yes, it was competitive, but we didn’t have the weight of social media hanging around our necks either. When we went to bars and to parties, we weren’t uploading the “perfect pics” to Instagram. Maybe a few to myspace…. (😊) Millennials and now Gen Z are competing with one another for coveted spots in schools, on social media, in sports the list goes on and on. For some depression is a clear outcome for this increased pressure and the stigma attached to it is now not only do you have your inner social circle, but that circle includes individuals who can broadcast your issues to literally millions of people via YouTube, a blog like this, Instagram, twitter…
Last let’s discuss older people. What is “old” “it’s just a number its all how you feel” well if that’s true there were somedays last month I felt dam near 80…. Older individuals are usually people, clinically anyway 55 or older, elderly is your 70+. Those are both generalities based on what I have observed and read over the years, you decide for yourself, but I think you get the picture. The issue here is the stigma of “getting old” is in fact reality based. Meaning at this point in our lives we are entering the final phases of our live. Average age for men in women is 80 ish, so a 73-year-old is closer to their ultimate live expectancy.
The stigma is the fight against aging and the omission of being old. You see it over and over in TV commercials. Product A offers healthier skin, Product B relieves joint pain, Product C lowers cholesterol so you can play with the grand kids…. Point here is we have built marketing around combating aging and taking products to help what ails us. This creates the conditions by which many don’t want to talk about getting old, which can lead to masking of serious depression issues for older citizens. Loss of spouses, friends passing, Parents and siblings facing medical issues… all of these contribute to the mortality mindset. You begin to think about your own, and many enter depression as a result.
“The paradox of depression treatment is that patients who most need it are often the ones who have difficulty accessing care due to stigma, attitudes toward mental health, and lack of access. Healthcare professionals need to adapt their approaches with different populations to ensure access to care.”
If you are depressed or just don’t feel right your age is irrelevant. You should tell your Dr. who can help you. The goal is to live the best life you can with the time you have, living in depression doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
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