Western should take depression more seriously

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 23, 2007 Ed Cartooo

Depression among university students is a growing concern.

Most would agree depression has been stigmatized. While existing perceptions are changing, preconceived notions still exist that depression isn’t a real illness and anyone suffering from it should suck it up.

Students should realize depression is a serious medical condition often requiring help, not just a case of the blues easily cured via sympathy.

Many of us have encountered depressed people and feel we can help. While that’s sometimes the case, some situations require serious medical treatment.

Depressed people don’t necessarily need to be taken by the hand. For instance, in workplace settings, people often mistakenly believe depressed people can’t do their jobs properly; such a stigma severely hinders the issue from being addressed publicly.

Furthermore, confusion between clinical and non-clinical depression makes it difficult for students to identify whether they actually suffer from it.

It’s likely common for stressed, unhappy students to misdiagnose themselves, thinking their bad moods are legitimate depression cases.

Similarly, those who legitimately have a problem may think their depression is simply a case of the blues.

There’s a fine line between clinical and situational depression, and the problem of diagnosis is compounded by the lack of available counselling on campus.

Given the nature of the condition, students can’t be expected to accurately diagnose themselves, but professional help is often elusive.

The ever-growing waiting lists for counselling withhold accessible help from students. These lists are partially generated by increased awareness of the disease and improper self-diagnosis.

Students receiving counselling are often limited by time; it’s difficult to accurately distinguish between clinical and situational depression in a 10-minute session.

Western focuses on physical health well, but mental health care deserves more attention.

Depressed students are often afraid to seek help and an unreasonable waiting list may deter them from trying, as was the case with a student who recently wrote a letter to The Gazette.

As such, the university should provide more counsellors to talk to students regarding mental health.

An increase in available counselling, for depression and other mental illnesses, is necessary to ensure students are diagnosed properly and receive proper help after diagnosis.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette