Running from 22-28 April 2012, Depression Awareness Week is organised by the Depression Alliance, and is all about ending the stigma associated with depression. This is a condition that affects 1 in 4 adults in the UK (with recent studies showing that 4% of children under 16 are suffering).
The stigma is a difficult nut to crack. Sufferers will put on a brave face rather than admit to negative feelings. Any sort of mental illness can be seen as a weakness. Which, of course, is ridiculous. Why should mental health be treated differently to any other health issues? Diabetics aren’t stigmatized. Neither are people with cancer. So why the hang-ups about mental health?
It's down to 'being different.' People with these issues are seen to be 'other.' Like those from a religious or ethnic minority, or someone whose sexual orientation doesn't fall in the 'majority' classification, they are singled-out by the intellectually-challenged who perceive mental illness as odd, a weakness, something to be feared. What these bigots should most fear about mental illness is very real possibility that it will affect them or someone close to them at some point.