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Depression Stigma may be Fading: Survey

Update Date: Oct 12, 2012 09:26 AM EDT

People, who never had Depression, could find it very difficult to understand what a patient goes through, and hence such patients could seem unattractive and unreliable to them. The serious illness, of which no one needs to be ashamed of, has had a social stigma around it for years and a lot of times, patients fail to get proper and timely treatment to the problem because they try to hide it.

However, a new finding suggests that this stigma could be finally fading away from societies.  In a poll released on National Depression Screening Day, most of the participants (72 percent) apparently said that they would seek treatment if it was needed.

The survey which involved 1,021 American adults revealed that not only are people aware of the illness, but also believe that no one needs to be ashamed about seeking treatment for the mental health condition.

The public opinion poll also revealed that most of the participants won't change their vote even if they learned that a presidential candidate had been treated for depression.

"These findings tell us that our efforts to reduce stigma and increase the public's knowledge of depression through events like National Depression Screening Day are having an effect," Dr. Douglas Jacobs, founder of the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health Inc., which conducted the poll, said in an organization news release.

"The goal of the program is to educate people on the symptoms of depression, assess their risk for mood and anxiety disorders and connect those in need with local treatment services," said Jacobs, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The telephonic survey conducted in September found that 53 percent of Americans know someone who has been treated for depression and of those, 76 percent said they would seek help if they too developed symptoms of the condition.

However, only 66 percent of those who didn't know anyone who had depression sais, they would seek treatment for themselves if ever needed.

The report was published in Health Day.

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