Maintaining the theme of having “global” in the title of every paper it publishes The Lancet produced a paper in January on discrimination experienced by people with depression around the world. The authors surveyed 1082 selected people with depression in 35 countries and found that four out of five experienced some form of discrimination.
The most common areas where people reported discrimination was by family members, friendships, marriage or divorce and keeping a job. Three quarters of people wished to conceal their depression from other people (in the medical profession I would suspect this figure would be higher).
It’s not entirely clear what the point of this paper is as the participants were not randomly selected but were approached by local research staff so the numbers are hard to generalize and should be taken with a pinch of salt. Nor did the authors report discrimination by country which would have been interesting to see how they stack up and might have generated ideas about how to address stigma.
Perhaps for clinicians reading this the take home message is to ask the question “Have you ever been discriminated against because of your depression or do you anticipate any discrimination”. I would guess the most likely areas this would apply would be at work or at the hands of the health system where discrimination against people with mental illness is rife.