Depression Is Not the Same in Every Culture

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From Mad in America: Derek Summerfield, a psychiatrist from London, challenges the idea that depression is the same for everyone. This was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. He points to problems and faults with a study by Graham Thornicroft about how depression is treated around the world. Summerfield thinks that depression is not the same in all countries.

Thornicroft’s study looked at depression in 21 countries with different levels of wealth. They found that about 4.6% of people in the study had Major Depressive Disorder in the past year. They also said that only a few people get good enough treatment, like medicine or therapy.

Summerfield disagrees. He thinks that Thornicroft and his team assume that depression is the same everywhere, but that’s not true. He says that depression might not even exist in the same way in all cultures. He notes that things like feelings and thoughts are not the same for everyone.

Summerfield also talks about how the World Health Organization says depression is a major reason for disability worldwide. He doesn’t agree with this way of measuring things. He writes that labels like “depression” are made up by people and don’t come from nature. For that matter, depression might not even be a real thing in some places. He talks about his own country, Zimbabwe, and wonders if the Western idea of depression is even useful there.

The important thing to remember is that not everyone sees depression the same way. Summerfield thinks it’s really important to think about this, especially when trying to help people with depression in different parts of the world.

In the end, the study and Summerfield’s ideas show that depression might not be the same everywhere, and we need to think about this when we try to understand and treat it.The full video can be watched on Mad in America.

This is an AI generated version edited and shortened for the South Asian audience.


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