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Depression: How big of an issue is it?

I used to suffer quite heavily with depression. I found that many people didn't understand much about the illness and many just brushed it off. So I have a piece about the amount of depression within Australia. Please have a read and let me know your thoughts on it.



Depression is an issue which many people don’t want to think about, and as time passes, the prevalence of depression is rising throughout Australia and in many other countries from around the world. This piece will mention some statistics involving depression and the reader can decide for themselves if they believe it’s a big issue which needs to be dealt with immediately.


The issue of depression is one that is often not spoken about greatly in Australia, but as it’s the 3rd highest individual health problem, after heart disease and stroke, it is a very large problem in Australia. This, generally, comes down to the stigma that surrounds the illness and not wanting to disclose what’s really happening. This reluctance to speak about what’s happening, from studies, show that men are more likely to remain quiet, and will suffer in silence.


The most startling statistic is that 1 in 5 Australians will experience depression sometime in their lifetime but 50% of those will not seek any treatment. As depression can lead to such dire outcomes and it has the ability to affect so many people, this should act as a frightening realisation about the possibilities that the illness can have on many people and families.


As mentioned in my previous piece on Social Media and Bullying, 24% of deaths of Australian’s aged between 16 and 24 are caused by depression, in the form of suicide. This statistic highlights the difficulty which is faced by young adults these days in Australia and that many feel like suicide is their only available option left. The stigma around depression needs to be greatly altered and more education must become available. Otherwise, this statistic will stay at a similar level, if not rise, in future years.


In the recent past, I’ve had a number of friends who have suffered from the illness quite severely. It is hard to know that friends are suffering from the illness stemming from a range of issues, which can include family, bullying, personal issues, among many others. Unfortunately, so many suffer in relative silence as they don’t want to be judged for what they are going through, and people to bully them even more in some cases, because they have depression. It can be a very vicious cycle for many, and can take a long time to recover from.


I must say how big an issue it is for me, and that I believe that a lot more needs to be done to try and reduce the prevalence of depression. Recently, I organised a charity night to raise money for beyondblue, an Australian charity attempting to reduce depression and anxiety in the Australian population. The night was a big success, as I was able to raise close to $10,000 for the charity.


So the question can be asked- ‘What is being done to stop or reduce depression?’ It is a hard one to answer! Various charities attempt to reduce the illness but that requires the sufferer to come forward and contact the charity for them to be able to help. Also, doctors, psychologists and other health care professionals attempt to reduce the amount of depression in the society through their work, but again, it requires the sufferer to come forward and to acknowledge they have the illness.



For me, it’s a massive issue, and will continue to be so for a long time. The statistics mentioned just highlight how big an issue it is, and that communities can be greatly affected by this illness. To reduce the prevalence of depression, among other things, it requires more education about the issues and also, the stigma around depression must be wiped away. That is a severe reason as why a large percentage don’t speak up about what they are going through and suffering.




Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

Hi arsenal_fan_92… welcome to the forums.

Thanks for sharing this. It's great to hear that, through your own experiences, you were motivated to bring people together and help spread the word about how big a problem depression can be. Kudos to you!

Is it a big issue? Absolutely. Even if the statistics were only half as severe as you quoted, I think it would still be a serious issue, so it's unfortunate that it's reached such high levels.

What ways can we help eliminate the stigma around depression?

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

About removing the stigma, that's the toughest part. As so many of the symptoms are not physical, but mental, it's hard to say any one thing would help significantly. I think it's about education. More people need educating about the illness that is depression. Also a lot more recognition about the problems that come with depression need to be recognised.

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

Awesome job with the charity.

It's hard. I have never had a problem with anyone who told me they were suffering from some form of MH. But when it came to me personally, it took me 8 years before I said, okay...I can't do this alone anymore. For me it wasn't about the stigma surrounding it, it was me thinking I could do it alone and by myself, that I didn't need any help.

I do believe that MH is starting to get more widely recognised and accepted though and that really is a great thing. But there is much work to be done. The charities and the events they hold make a huge difference.

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

Hey arsenal_fan_92,


Welcome to the forums! Awesome work on that piece and thanks for sharing Smiley Happy You're absolutely right, depression is a huge issue effecting Australian society. 


Like you've mentioned, people like doctors and health professionals play a big role in treating depression and reducing the number of people who struggle with it - but it would be ideal to tackle the problem before it gets to that point. There are a few prevention campaigns that target education around depression and other mental illnesses in an attempt to reduce stigma (like BeyondBlue, R U OK Day, Soften the F Up, celebrities/public figures talking about their struggles etc), but there are still a huge amount of people who struggle with depression yet don't reach out for help.


I also agree with Sagira - I'm personally quite educated about mental health problems and don't think any less of anyone who is struggling with their mental health - but when it came to me, I still had the belief that I *should* be able to manage, and that for me, to be depressed was a weakness. I think society is becoming more aware and accepting of depression and other mental illnesses, but somehow people still seem to think that that acceptance applies to everyone except themselves. Stigma on a wider level is definitely still an issue, but that's just my personal experience.


How do you think we could best tackle this?

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

@gail wrote:

when it came to me, I still had the belief that I *should* be able to manage, and that for me, to be depressed was a weakness.

This resonates with me entirely. It has only been recently that I have come to terms with my depression and accepted that since I cannot handle it myself (for the past few years I have tried, and failed) I can now seek outside help whether from friends or the like and rather than me viewing it as a weakness it has given me strength Smiley Happy

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

I think more is being attempted to be done and it's coming along. But obviously we still have a long way to go.


As for how we can tackle this, it's a hard one. I think more education is being undertaken with these issues by the community, but obviously there is still a large stigma. This is because the symptoms are mental, not psychical. So for many, they see nothing wrong.


As a 20 yr old, I've seen quite a few people my age have depression and suffer. It's about trying to help others for me. If that means, raising money to raise awareness, it must be done. It's always very rewarding to be able to do that. I'm going to be organising another night soon to raise money for a charity. 

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

If you have people around that can see what's wrong and are willing to help, thats perfect. Hopefully, they can work through it with you and will be there to help in both the good and bad times.

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

I do feel if Medicare actually jumped on board and made it easier for people to access mental health services through their GP etc more easily it would help a great deal. Because really it does come down to affordability a lot. I know they do have 'the better access to mental health scheme' but really, I think there is room for improvement.

Re: Depression: How big of an issue is it?

I think the understanding and acceptance of depression in society has actually come a long way. It still has a long way to go, but I think it is work acknowledging that compared to say 20 years ago there is less social stigma related to it.


I also think we need to see if from the perspective of people who aren't prone to depression. I think for those who don't suffer from it, it can be very hard to comprehend. As those of us who are prone to it usually find it hard enough to understand ourselves, let alone explain it to others. I can be a really challenge living with and/or caring for someone with depression. 


But great article Arsenal-fan - and thanks for sharing it with us.