Depression: a social construct?
Experiences that we might call ‘depression’ today used to be seen as a form of ‘madness”. This was what people back in the 1930s and 40s thought of depression, or in their views as madness. So what has made depression such a common term to use when someone is sad or in isolation?
One of the reason why I believe depression is a social construct is because of the easiness in throwing the term out, when someone feels dejected for a few days. As soon as they are, they are instantly labelled as suffering from depression. This is automatically digested by the person who now believe that they are suffering from the particular illness.
Moreover, I believe that many pharmaceutical companies are largely benefiting from depression as a global issue by releasing more medication to try and resolve the situation. This can be seen as money making into a whole new level and in fact does not help a person supposedly suffering from depression from being treated and being back to normal. If we speak of feeling down, a friend or colleague is likely to say: “Have you seen a doctor?” This change in how we think about depression has in many ways been driven by medicalisation and marketing: all fuelled by commercial interests rather than public healthcare concerns.
In a more serious point, some people also use the stigma of depression as a way of promoting themselves or gaining a sense of affection. This might be a serious accusation but through my own personal experiences, my point can be backed up as some people I know have lied about their fictional issue of being locked down with depression. This equates to an outpour of grief and affection in which it is used to their advantage.
So is depression an illness? Clearly not, as it is a product of human erratic behaviour which is largely down to their problems. In life we all go through sticky situations but it is up to us to fix the problem and move on with our lives. For me, Depression is a social construct designed to make money for massive medical companies who are making in a lot of money.
The term depression was non-existent twenty or thirty years ago, and it only prevalent now. Why has depression become a global phenomenon and the fact that it is still increasing in terms of people suffering from it. This can be similar to the various outbreaks of flus which has and is continuing to cause havoc in many countries in the world even despite various medications being produced. Although depression and flu are completely different, the situation is very similar which goes to show that these are a result of human construction.
It can be seen in the latest reports of cuts by the government to mental health trust in England “where analysis by the King’s fund think tank suggests 40% of the 58 trusts saw budgets cut in 2015–16”. This shows the government’s view on mental health as they firmly believe it is not their number one priority, while viewing other issues that they see as more important.