As many as 400,000 people in Ireland have depression at any one time, support group, Aware, has said.
It has just launched its annual Depression Awareness Week Nationwide (DAWN). This is the biggest DAWN campaign ever held – it will include television, radio and outdoor advertising.
According to Aware, the estimated number of people affected by depression at any one time has been revised upwards – to 400,000 – to reflect the growth in population here. Statistically, it is accepted that one in 10 people are affected by the condition at any one time and preliminary results from the Census 2006 show a record growth in population, to 4.23 million.
However despite this huge figure, stigma remains a concern.
“Many people who may be experiencing the symptoms of depression are reluctant to seek help for fear of prejudice. Therefore depression remains under-reported and under-diagnosed, and in many ways a hidden illness in this country”, explained Aware chief executive, Geraldine Clare.
DAWN used to be held in September, however Aware decided to move the event to January, as the highest number of suicides typically occurs during the winter months of November to January.