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Depression: Millions still deterred from seeking support, but almost all of us want to help
Added: 18th Jun 2018

Almost four in ten of the UK general public say they would consider doing nothing if they had a mental health condition like depression and hope that it would go away, according to new research conducted by polling company D-CYFOR on behalf of the mental health charity SANE.

People may be prevented from speaking more openly because they feel ashamed and fearful of the response they might get, but an overwhelming majority (80%) would be willing to listen to and support someone close to them whose mental health they were concerned about, according to a UK representative survey of more than 1,000 people aged 18+ by D-CYFOR.

56% of respondents said they would be likely to talk to someone they were worried about, and a further 25% would be willing to get involved if asked. Only 9% said they would not want to get involved.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, said: “People with depression are afraid to talk about it for fear that family and friends might not want to listen or understand.

“Yet our survey shows that people with depression need not be afraid. Their worries and concerns are often baseless as our findings show that, if they reached out, they would no longer feel so anxious and alone.”

The findings also show that a reluctance to speak out is particularly acute amongst younger people, with millennials (adults aged under 35) 41% more likely to say they might do nothing compared to the rest of the adult population (aged 35 and above).

The survey also found that men would be less likely than women to speak to a family member or close friend if they experienced depression or a similar condition, but more likely than women to speak to somebody less intimately involved, such as a neighbour, telephone helpline or work colleague.

The survey also revealed a large difference between men and women in their expectation of which gender would be more likely to ask for help, with 37% of men versus 58% of women thinking that women were more likely to ask for help for a mental health issue.

The results lend urgency to SANE’s newly launched #LetMeTalk campaign, which encourages people to speak out about their depression and challenges the obstacles that can leave people isolated from the help and support that can be vital to recovery.

Almost half of the people (46%) surveyed said they had experienced a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive or compulsive behaviours, yet according to a study by NHS Digital only around one in three people with common mental health conditions will be accessing treatment.

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