Why do we not understand it, I guess that is the best question to ask. In light of the genius that was Robin Williams taking his own life there was a general rumbling across Social Media about the lack of understanding the world has of the disease that is depression!
“Would we say just snap out of it to a Cancer patient” wrote Ricky Gervais. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but sometimes it does” added Jason Manford. Would we whisper at the water fountain that a person with Diabetes was ‘just having a bad day’ wrote another prominent blogger. The simple answer is no and yet when depression holds onto a person few people understand, few people even try to understand.
It’s a sobering fact to think that suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 34 to 40 in the UK. Its alarming to think that so many people suffer in silence at their desk with a disease that is a killer in the simple way that Cancer is a killer.
Delivering information systems to support clinical research is a role that is rewarding, a role that for the last three years I have had the great pleasure to do. Rarely in my whole career have I struggled to get out of bed and drag myself to the task in hand, and for that simple, plain fact, I know I am very lucky.
But today I say to colleagues across the technology world, take a look around the team, does someone need help, simple reassurance, simple understanding, simple assistance. The business the information professional is in is stressful, but stress should not lead to depression, it should not be considered the natural next stage of hard work.
The world is changing and evolving. We have a programme to educate people to be ‘Friends of Dementia’, we have education to help people understand so much and yet, the concept of a colleague or friend being depressed is something that there is simply not enough understanding about…
So, with the memory of Mork clear in your head, reach out to someone this week, offer a kind word of support and please, whatever you do, don’t think they will, ‘snap out of it!’
And if you feel you can’t talk to the person sat next to you or simply are not ready yet to reach out to someone you know then try something else, ring the Samaritans, 08457 90 90 90 or ask for help, whist many people don’t understand, they want to, and they want to help.