-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Among people with
depression, 79 percent report that they've experienced some form of
discrimination, a new study finds.
British researchers used questionnaires to gather information
about discrimination encountered by nearly 1,100 people treated for
depression in 35 countries.
The responses showed that 34 percent of the patients said they
had been avoided or shunned by other people because of their mental
health problems, 37 percent said that anticipated discrimination
had stopped them from initiating a close personal relationship, and
25 percent said they had not applied for work at some point because
they expected they would face discrimination.
However, many patients who anticipated discrimination did not
experience it, including 47 percent of those who believed they
would face discrimination in finding or keeping a job, and 45
percent of those who were worried about discrimination in personal
relationships, according to the study published online Oct. 18 in
The study also found that 71 percent of patients said they
wanted to conceal their depression from other people. The
researchers were concerned about this finding because it means that
people with depression may not seek treatment because of their
fears of discrimination.
"Previous work in this area has tended to focus on public attitudes towards stigma 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," study leader Graham Thornicroft, of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said in a journal news release.
"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," Thornicroft said.
These are important findings, Anthony Jorm, of the University of
Melbourne in Australia, said in an accompanying commentary. Further
research is needed to determine the best ways to prevent
discrimination against people with depression and to help them deal
with discrimination and anticipated discrimination, he added.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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