Over three-quarters of people with depression report discrimination

An international team of researchers, led by Professor Graham Thornicroft at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, used detailed questionnaires to ask 1082 people being treated for depression in 35 different countries about their experiences of discrimination.

Over a third (34%) of participants reported that they had been avoided or shunned by other people because of their . Anticipated discrimination had prevented over a third (37%) of participants from initiating a close personal relationship, and a quarter (25%) had not applied for work at some point because they expected that they would be discriminated against.

However, the researchers also found that people who anticipated discrimination did not necessarily find that their experiences confirmed this, with nearly half (47%) of participants who reported having anticipated discrimination in finding or keeping a job, and 45% who anticipated discrimination in their , finding that they did not actually experience discrimination in these situations.

Almost three quarters (71%) of participants said that they actively wished to conceal their from other people, leading to concerns that people with depression may be put off from seeking treatment due to fears of discrimination if they disclose their condition – so that they would not benefit from treatment, as a result of which the condition would be more likely to become chronic.

According to Professor Thornicroft, "Previous work in this area has tended to focus on towards based on questions about hypothetical situations, but ours is the first study to investigate the actual experiences of discrimination in a large, global sample of people with depression. Our findings show that discrimination related to depression is widespread, and almost certainly acts as a barrier to an active social life and having a fair chance to get and keep a job for people with depression."

In a linked Comment, Dr Anthony Jorm at the University of Melbourne in Australia, highlights the importance of the new study, but adds that, "Further research could provide much needed input into the design of anti-discrimination interventions—such as public education about human rights and the effect of discrimination on the person with depression; action from health services to help overcome anticipated discrimination as a barrier to help seeking; and the incorporation into treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy of techniques to address anticipated discrimination and symptoms."

More information: Paper online: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan… (12)61379-8/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Reduction in mental health discrimination

May 03, 2012

Findings from a new study led by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) show improvements in behaviour towards people with mental health problems in England, during the first year of the national ...

The effects of discrimination could last a lifetime

Aug 27, 2012

Given the well-documented relationship between low birth weight and the increased risk of health problems throughout one's lifespan, it is vital to reduce any potential contributors to low birth weight. A new study by Valerie ...

Discrimination from one's manager really bites

Oct 03, 2012

Mental health workers are more likely to be depressed or anxious when they experience discrimination from their managers than when it comes from patients, a study has found.

Recommended for you

Discovery hints at why stress is more devastating for some

4 hours ago

Some people take stress in stride; others are done in by it. New research at Rockefeller University has identified the molecular mechanisms of this so-called stress gap in mice with very similar genetic backgrounds—a ...

Family dinners reduce effects of cyberbullying in adolescents

16 hours ago

Sharing regular family meals with children may help protect them from the effects of cyberbullying, according to a study by McGill professor Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy. Because family meal times represent ...

The Edwardians were also fans of brain training

22 hours ago

Brain-training programmes are all the rage. They are part of a growing digital brain-health industry that earned more than US$1 billion in revenue in 2012 and is estimated to reach US$6 billion by 2020. The extent to which they actually improve brain function re ...

Report advocates improved police training

Aug 29, 2014

A new report released yesterday by the Mental Health Commission of Canada identifies ways to improve the mental health training and education that police personnel receive.

User comments