There is a Big Gap in the Understanding Depression
There are many Americans that claim they do not know much about depression; however, most are very aware of the risks of not receiving care for depression according to a survey released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The survey provided a "three dimensional" measurement of responses from members of the general public who do not know anyone with depression, such as caregivers of adults diagnosed with depression, and adults living with the illness.
One major finding that the study found was almost 50 percent of caregivers who responded had been diagnosed with depression themselves, however; only about 25 percent said they were getting help.
Additionally the survey discovered that almost 60 percent of people living with depression said that they use their primary care physicians for direct care rather than a mental health professional.
"The survey reveals gaps and guideposts on roads to recovery," said the Executive Director of NAMI Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "It tells what has been found helpful in treating depression. It can help caregivers better anticipate stress that will confront them. It reflects issues that need to be part of ongoing health care reform."
"There are many treatment strategies," said Medical Director of NAMI Ken Duckworth. "What often works is a combination of treatments that fit a person and their lifestyle.” He continues, "research indicates that the combination of medication and psychotherapy are most effective. But physical exercise, prayer, music therapy, yoga, animal therapy and other practices all can play a role.”
Duckworth states that “The good news is that 80 percent or more of the public recognize that depression is a medical illness, affecting people of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups, which can be treated”
This study may light the way for Americans and providers to pay better attention to the gap that exists with depression and the understanding and treatment of it. NAMI, a grassroots mental health organization who is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families that have been affected by mental illness will continue to help bridge that gap.
Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
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