Discrimination related to depression

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Almost 80% of patients with depression have experienced some kind of discrimination because of their condition. Previous studies have shown that discrimination can lead to depression, but this study looked at the phenomenon from the other direction.

Patients anticipated discrimination

Patients were asked to answer questions about their history with discrimination. About 34% of them reported that they avoided people because of their mental health. As many as 37% said they expected discrimination, so they did not form close relationships. Another 25% did not apply for some kinds of work because they expected to be discriminated against.

Discrimination acts as a barrier to socialization

"Previous work in this area has tended to focus on questions about hypothetical situations, but ours is the first study to investigate the actual experiences of discrimination in a large global sample of people with depression," said Professor Graham Thornicroft of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, who led the study.

"Our findings show that discrimination related to depression is widespread and almost certainly acts as a barrier to an active social life and having a fair chance to get and keep a job for people with depression."

Better interventions needed

"Further research could provide much needed input into the design of anti-discrimination interventions – such as public education about human rights and the effect of discrimination on the person with depression; action from health services to help overcome anticipated discrimination as a barrier to help-seeking; and the incorporation into treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy of techniques to address anticipated discrimination and symptoms," concluded Dr. Anthony Jorm of the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The Lancet

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