Treatment is critical when it comes to managing depression ― but millions of people with the disorder simply aren’t getting it.
The World Health Organization recently released updated figures on the global burden of depression and the numbers are staggering. More than 300 million people worldwide have the mental health condition, which is an 18 percent increase over the last decade. Of that population, nearly half of them aren’t receiving medical support.
There are multiple barriers to getting proper help, from the high price tag of professional support to issues with access to care. Another big reason there’s a treatment gap? The negative stereotype that having a mental health issue makes a person weak, according to Ken Duckworth, the medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Depression is a common problem,” Duckworth told The Huffington Post. “There shouldn’t be shame in seeking help for that. People wouldn’t feel shamed if they got help for a broken arm. Depression is much like that. It’s treatable and you should tend to it.”
In honor of World Health Day and its 2017 theme of depression, we asked our social media community to share how treatment has helped them with the disorder. Of course, what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to check with a doctor on the best method for you.
Take a look at the stories below on ways people helped ease their depression and learn more about the treatment process. There should be no stigma when it comes to getting healthy.
Trying different medications.
“I spent 6 years trying different medicines. Nothing worked and I was only held together by the fact that I had a very good doctor who gave me hope. Then one day 11 years ago I tried a different medicine. Bingo. Been in recovery ever since ... Honestly, it’s a miracle for my brain. However, I always live in abject fear that one day it will stop working.” ―Michele Carlson
Professional help and lifestyle changes.
“I had never taken any medication before for my depression. I kept seeing my therapist weekly and working through all my traumas. I slowly started to feel better and started to work out again. [After a while], I felt I was ready to get off the medications. ... I continued to try to eat better, I worked out almost daily and went to therapy weekly. I found things that helped calm me down like going out for walks, hikes, coloring and taking me time.
I will never be rid of my depression or anxiety but I finally found a way to manage it ... Without exercise I think I would fall easily back to my old ways. Between therapy and exercise I have been able to learn about myself and how to remain stable for myself and now for my daughter.” ―Nathalia Segoviano
A support system.
“We need to remove the stigma behind talking about our problems. We’re human, we ALL have problems. Talking about them makes other people aware that they aren’t alone. And none of us are alone, so why do we continue to act like we are? I encourage everybody to take the time to post about the issues you are facing or have faced. Let the people around you know that they aren’t alone. Don’t be ashamed to admit when you have a problem. You are important, you are loved and you have a support group. Talk to them.” ―Kara Bennett
A good therapist.
“The day [my daughter] was born, she died due to an unforeseen birth defect. My grief was like an ocean that constantly sat upon my chest. ... My mom found a counselor who did therapy by rebuilding memories and ‘refiling’ them so they weren’t so triggering. Together we’ve worked through every traumatic experience I’ve ever had. I’m now able to live without blinding rage. I’m able to breathe without feeling as if my chest is going to cave in. ... If it weren’t for her help, I don’t know where I would be right now.” ―Amanda Williams
If you’re looking for ways to get mental health support but don’t know how, there are options. Here are a few suggestions on how to make therapy more affordable and check out this list of things to expect when you start therapy.
Here’s to more people getting good help. You’re worthy of it.
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.