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    By Amy and Bernadette

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The Elephant in the Room

There is an elephant in the room and very few of us can see it.  The statistics about this elephant should wake us all up to action.  Sadly, they do not.

  • 121 million people world-wide have some type of depression (World Health Organization)
  • 14.8 million Americans experience clinical depression in any given year (National Association of Mental Illness)
  • Less than 25 percent of all people in the world suffering from depression have access to effective treatment (World Health Organization)
  • People 65 and over in America commit suicide at a higher rate than the national average (Senior Health)

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Several thousand miss work because of depression or are not effective in their jobs.  Depression left untreated can lead to a growing list of physical problems – high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, to name just a few. There is also the loss of creativity and innovation that could come from such gifted individuals.

And then there are the caregivers.

Often stretched in many directions, caregivers themselves develop medical conditions and are always open to depression.  When one is working to maintain sanity while dealing with a loved one with depression, it can take a toll at home, in the workplace, and even with the depressed individual. Caregivers are called upon to do so much and are often not supported in their work.   Sadly, many of them seek support and receive none because of the vast misunderstanding of the disease.

Most people do not realize this ripple effect with depression – family, friends and co-workers are all impacted in different ways.  Whether it is dealing with the difficult job of coping with this mental illness or whether trying to heal the relationship disruptions or the physical conditions that come up, caregivers and those suffering from depression have an inordinate amount of stress in their lives.  

And many of us don’t recognize how hard it is. We ignore the elephant in the room.  We talk around it and refuse to see it is ruining the life of everyone in the room.  In fact, it is ruining everyone in the community.  Someone has to say something.  Silence is not an effective cure for depression.

-Bernadette

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