Depression is an epidemic. The disorder affects 350 million people globally, but fewer than half of them seek treatment for it, according to the World Health Organization.
How come? There’s a stigma attached to the disorder that keeps sufferers from reaching out for help, says Michelle Holmberg, social psychologist and Director of Programs at Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
Many people see depression as a character flaw, but it should be treated just like a physical health condition, Holmberg says. If you had high blood pressure, you’d go to a doctor to take care of it – and your mental health shouldn’t be any different.
Maybe you have it all together: A great job, happy family and loyal group of friends. Maybe you have a picture in your head of what depression looks like – and it’s not you.
But depression in men can go undiagnosed because symptoms may differ, Holmberg says. Beyond feeling fatigued and hopeless, other red flags for depression include spending a lot of time at work, avoiding your friends and family, and engaging in risky behaviour like reckless sickness.
Ever fit the bill? Don’t chalk it up to having just another bad day. Take 10 minutes to find out if something else is affecting your mood.
“Depression doesn’t have to be a big deal if it’s managed early,” says Men’s Health mental health advisor Thomas Joiner, MD, “but it can become catastrophic if left unmanaged.”
A survey from the National Institute of Health found that 80% of people who were treated for depression showed an improvement in their symptoms.
The bottom line: Seeking answers won’t hurt but living day-to-day with a problem that can be solved will. Google to find the closest screening location near you or to take a free online screening, visit the South African Depression and Anxiety Group .