HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2012, 16 million Americans suffered a major depressive event. Less than half sought help.
"There are some people that understand they are depressed and have depression, but there are a good number of people who fall into the stigma of what mental illness is and are afraid to admit something is going on," said Chari Herron, a Mental Health Therapist with the Mental Health Center of Madison County.
Despite the prevalence of depression - also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression - commercials on television, and high-profile celebrities revealing their own struggles with the illness, a stigma about mental illness prevails.
"I think a lot of times people look at what they see in movies and on TV, the padded walls, laying on the couch, the strait jackets, and that`s what they view as mental illness," said Herron.
Depression affects every aspect of life, from work and relationships, to physical health and the seemingly simple act of getting out of bed.
The Mayo Clinic defines Depression as "a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest," that "affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living."
"I don`t think people take depression as serious as it is," cautioned Herron. "People are hurting daily. I think a lot more people than we realize are walking around, depressed."
Depression can be sinister. About two thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their death.
But to battle the stigma, and the disease, we must keep talking, instead of ignoring depression.
The Mental Health Center of Madison County offers a 24/7 Crisis Intervention hotline for clients and the community. They can be reached at (256)-533-1970.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800)-273-8255.