Depression is a mental health issue that many people experience with varying levels of severity. It can occur as a symptom of another mental health condition, as the result of an event such as a death or divorce, or as an isolated issue with observable symptoms. Depression can follow a seasonal pattern and last a few months, or it can last years as a mild or severely debilitating condition. Although the range of experiences with depression vary greatly, it’s a prevalent mental health issue that affects people regardless of culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. Worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression affects 350 million people, and the organization classifies it as a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
Despite the widespread prevalence of depression, it is a treatable condition in many cases. An article published in the scholarly journal Cancer Nursing estimates that approximately 80-90% of people experiencing depression can be treated with psychotherapy, psychotropic medication, somatic interventions, or a combination of those methods. The WHO says that although effective treatments for depression exist, less than half of those who experience it—in many countries less than 10%—receive depression treatment. Some common barriers to access include social stigma, lack of resources, lack of trained providers, and inaccurate diagnosis.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is a peer-directed national organization that focuses on two of the most prevalent mental health conditions. According to the organization, more than 21 million Americans are affected by bipolar and depression. DBSA provides a variety of resources for those experiencing depression and bipolar, their friends and family, and for professionals treating the conditions.
- Depression Marathon: Since 2008, the author of Depression Marathon has been sharing her journey of self-discovery and re-creation “within the confines of depression,” as she puts it. The drive behind the inspirational blog is to reduce the stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of mental health issues.
- Depression Forums: Sometimes the best words to hear during a journey of healing are, “Me too.” These words can reduce isolation, normalize feelings, and help people understand they are not alone when experiencing a mental health issue. A team of about 15 volunteer moderators at Depression Forums helps facilitate online discussions focused on mental health and depression that often lead to these two powerful words.
- Depression Alliance: This U.K.-based organization seeks to end the loneliness and isolation that often accompanies depression. Visitors to the site can meet and chat with others locally, find a self-help group, or spend some time learning about depression and treatments for it. Additionally, Depression Alliance does advocacy work to eradicate the stigma of depression.
- Students Against Depression: The website for this organization was created in the memories of Charlie Waller and Matthew Wood, two young men who died of suicide in 1997 and 2004, respectively. Their families started the Students Against Depression project in hopes of reaching young adults experiencing depression and suicidal thinking. The site offers advice, information, guidance, and resources for those affected by depression and suicidal ideation.
- The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation: On March 2, 2001, Kelty Dennehy died by suicide at 17 after experiencing depression. His parents, Kerry and Ginny Dennehy, founded The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation the same year. Since its creation, the foundation has raised nearly $7 million to go toward care, education, and research projects for young people experiencing mental health issues.
- Right Direction: Developed through a collaborative effort between the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, an American Psychiatric Foundation program, and Employers Health, Right Direction is an initiative focused on promoting awareness about depression in the workplace. The site helps employers promote wellness and better understand and reduce their stigma toward depression.
- Families for Depression Awareness: Depression and bipolar are often significant risk factors for suicidal ideation and the act of suicide. Families for Depression Awareness was created to help families recognize and cope with the symptoms of depression and bipolar in an effort to prevent suicide. The organization offers an educational website, does advocacy work to support families affected by depression, and helps connect people to resources for depression.
- Men’s Depression: According to the site’s mission, many men experience what they refer to as “covert depression.” Covert depression is the act of externalizing depression through violence, drugs, alcohol, or other maladaptive behaviors. Men’s Depression believes covert depression and an under-diagnosis of depression in men are a significant contributors to male suicide. The goal of the site is to provide outreach for men experiencing depression and for those willing to share their stories.
- Blurt: This organization hosts an online space where people can connect to others who have or are experiencing depression. Blurt helps people develop a peer support network, learn about their depression diagnoses, and produces a series of popular podcasts featuring mental health experts. Their popular BuddyBox program also allows visitors to send a thoughtful gift to others, or practice a little self-care and send a box to yourself.
Have a favorite depression-related website and don’t see it on our list? Nominate helpful websites here.
- Kessler, R.C., & Bromet, E.J. (2013). The epidemiology of depression across cultures. Annual Review of Public Health, 34, 119–138. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031912-114409
- Valente, S.M. & Saunders, J.M. (1997). Diagnosis and treatment of major depression among people with cancer. Cancer Nursing, 3, 168-77.
- World Health Organization. (2015, October). Depression: fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/
- World Health Organization. (2014). The global burden of disease: 2004 update. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/
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