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Misconceptions still surround depression: survey

Australians are still gravely misinformed about depression and how to support someone, said Beyondblue CEO, Kate Carnell.

A NSW survey by the mental health organisation found that one in five surveyed wrongly thought it would be helpful to tell someone with depression to “put on a brave face and push on”.

And 34 per cent thought people with depression should just “pull themselves together”.

“It seems that many people still don’t know depression is an illness which needs and responds to treatment, and still don’t know how to help themselves or someone else who may be struggling,” said Carnell.

In other findings from the Depression Monitor survey, 62 per cent wrongly believed antidepressant medication was addictive and 14 per cent wrongly said people with severe depression were weak-willed.

She said despite improvements in awareness, more work needed to be done to make people aware of the signs and symptoms of depression.

However, she said it was encouraging to see that 85 per cent of respondents said they have sought professional help for depression.

The results of the survey will be discussed at a meeting of the board of beyondblue in Sydney today.

High on the agenda will also be discussions on how to best work with the NSW Mental Health Commission around reducing stigma, targeting hard to reach populations and increasing community awareness.

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