Opinion

Depression requires more than awareness

T

he recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams created a platform to raise awareness about depression and mental health. Journalists like Slate magazine’s David Weigel have come forward with their experiences with depression, and educational efforts such as AsapSCIENCE’s video “The Science of Depression” have gained traction through social media.

The worrisome characteristic of this phenomenon is its fleetingness: Why does it require a shattering tragedy, such as a suicide or a shooting, to direct the public’s attention to mental health? For a condition shared by more than 350 million people worldwide, how has depression managed to hide behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office?

The problem does not lie in the lack of outreach by community organizations, which have in fact increased in number over the past decades with the establishment of resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The larger obstacle is our response to this increased awareness; it’s making the connection between the people we see in articles to the people in our lives — perhaps even to ourselves. Throwing around hotlines and brochures is pointless if we insist on viewing depression as a distant concept rather than examining traces of mental disorders on a personal level.

The stigma behind coming out as mentally unwell stems from our fuzzy perception of the line where an individual’s personality ends and biological mental disorder begins. As a result, many individuals are quiet about their conditions, due to either confusion or fear of misunderstanding. This invisibility makes depression dangerous.

We are not all guaranteed to know someone who suffers from depression; 350 million is, after all, only five percent of the world’s population. However, it remains our responsibility to be aware, observant and caring, and to intervene when we see that our loved ones are incapable of making safe decisions for themselves.

Jackie Yang is a freshman majoring in Neuroscience.

August 24, 2014

Reporters

Jackie Yang

Jackie Yang can be reached via email at jyang@themiamihurricane.com.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ Hurricanes fans aren’t the only ones exasperated by t ...

If Saturday wasn’t a turning point for N’Kosi Perry, it was maybe the start of one — at least this i ...

The question for Manny Diaz was simple, and the defensive coordinator’s answer was simple, too — sor ...

The University of Miami’s popular turnover chain was spotlighted in a promotional video for February ...

The evidence was glaring. On Monday night, Miami true freshman running back Lorenzo Lingard posted o ...

New student organization’s mission is a movement to return to the ‘roots’ of natural hair. ...

A University of Miami professor discusses the dynamics of this trend. ...

A mobile museum coming to UM this week will showcase relics of the African-American experience. ...

Get set for a whirlwind of information on critical issues facing the planet and how to tell those st ...

Professors and staff from UM are offering students an in-class introduction to gardening and food pr ...

Ebuka Izundu had a career night as the Canes took down Stephen F. Austin, 96-58. ...

The Canes have two games left in the 2018 regular season and they have one goal in mind: finish the ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team will host No. 19 Marquette in a top-25 matchup Thursda ...

Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Amy Deem announced the University of Miami's 2019 tra ...

The Miami women's basketball team moved up one spot to No. 24 nationally in this week's As ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.