Anyway, it left me thinking about the fact that depression has taken many a victim, both dead and alive, yet it is a subject that is unfortunately swept under the rug by many. Though I am lucky enough to have not fallen victim to it myself, I’ve borne witness to its adverse effects within loved ones around me. Subsequently, I’m not speaking from direct experience, but instead from what I’ve observed from these loved ones. At risk of sounding precocious by doing so, I feel like I should utilize this blogging opportunity by addressing such an important issue.
As alluded to, like most mental health issues, depression seems to have become an increasingly taboo topic of discussion. People don’t talk openly about it and if they do then they are somewhat frowned upon.
Though there’s no definitive answer for why this is so, I feel like it has a lot to do with the fact that New Zealander’s typically put up a very stoic front. Therefore, expressing signs of the supposed weakness that is depression is considered to be socially unacceptable. As a result, people begin to feel as if their depression is a defining feature of themselves and that it is something to be ashamed of.
It goes without saying that by suppressing one’s issues in such a way, they will be left in a worsened state – causing them to spiral further into a deep, dark hole.
But what can be done to combat such an ingrained way of thinking? Firstly, I think that Parliament need to address the issue more sufficiently and provide it with the sense of severity that it deserves. For instance, the Mental Health Act hasn’t been amended since 1999, yet rates of depression have steadily worsened since this time – illustrating the fact that Parliament need to adjust with the times.
Similarly, mental health in general has become grossly underfunded in New Zealand and there have been massive cutbacks in regards to support facilities. This has meant that there is a greater readiness to medicate patients instead of providing them with adequate counselling, due to the costs that come with this.
If Parliament were to trigger the debate, then hopefully the domino like effect would come into practice and the stigma around depression would eventually subside. Consequently, people may come to realize that it is in fact a surprisingly common illness and to sweep it under the rug is to ignore and diminish the lives of many.
As a country we should be ashamed of our neglectful attitude towards the matter, with our alarmingly high rates of depression and suicide being indicative of such an attitude.
If you are feeling down, here are some places to help
Author: Harry Reid
Hi – my name is Harry Reid. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m originally from Greytown in the Wairarapa – which is approximately an hour out of Wellington. I’m the youngest of three children, with a twenty-year old brother and a twenty-two-year old sister. After finishing Wellington High last year I’m now in my first year at the University of Otago, doing a double degree in Law and Arts, with my Arts Major either being Communications or Politics – and whichever one I decide against will become my Minor. Some of my interests outside of University include photography, socializing with friends and keeping up with current affairs– among other things. Over the coming weeks I’m going to share with you some of my experiences (both good and bad) in my weekly blog. Feel free to follow my Instagram @harrrryreid for a more personalized view of what I’m up to!