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That’s Just Nuts! – Speaking Out About the Unspoken

A dear friend of mine shared a cute gimmick of a bag of peanuts stapled to a peanut-shaped card. The photo shows the front and back of this card, which is from a 2005 campaign by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, Canada.

I think mental health is an invisible disability that gets too little coverage. I know people who have serious mood disorders and who are (fortunately) getting regular help. Is that person who “acts funny” or behaves “differently” an eccentric person or someone who needs care and attention? I like knowing about the serious problems because I feel it makes me more capable of helping out when they are in serious trouble. You can help them remember to take their medications or contact someone who is equipped to help them properly. People who walk away from a “crazy person” make me sad – they can compound the issue with their show of rejection.

There seem to be more news articles about prominent people who reveal that they have had a nervous breakdown or depression. It is good that more people are discussing this matter openly. Openness can replace the myths with a more inclusive attitude in society. I also have a strong belief that my profession — technical communication — has a big role to play in communicating this sort of information accurately and suitably to the general public. (Career opportunity, anyone?)

The “nutty” gimmick listed and refuted some of those myths. I transcribed the text from the gimmick for ease of reading and better accessibility.

Transcription of That’s Just Nuts!

What is a mood disorder? Mood disorders include major depression (such as postpartum depression), bipolar disorder (manic depression), and other related disorders.

At any given time, almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression but only one third of them seek help. Myths surrounding depression and other related disorders often keep people from getting the help they need.

Myth: People with depression are just lazy and don’t want to get better.

That’s Just Nuts! Depression is not something you can just “snap out of”. Depression is a treatable medical illness caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, stress and brain chemistry. No one wants to be depressed.

Myth: People who continually talk about suicide don’t commit suicide.

That’s Just Nuts! When someone talks about wanting to kill themselves they are reaching out for help. Their risk for committing suicide is very real. Don’t ignore it.

Myth: People with mood disorders are not good employees.

That’s Just Nuts! A person with a mood disorders can be anything – an entrepreneur, a politician, a health professional, a teacher – and be good at it. People with mood disorders are working in your community, making positive contributions everyday.

Myth: It’s normal for teens to be moody; teens don’t suffer from real depression.

That’s Just Nuts! Living with a teenager can be an emotional rollercoaster ride but sometimes that moodiness can mask what’s really going on. Check it out – 1 in 5 teenagers experiences clinical depression. Make sure your teenager’s not more than just moody.

Myth: Depression is a normal part of the aging process.

That’s Just Nuts! Getting older is getting better; today’s seniors are living healthier and more fulfilling lives than ever before. Depression shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s future.

Myth: Only certain type of people are affected by mood disorders; they cannot affect people like me.

That’s Just Nuts! Mood disorders don’t discriminate; they affect people from all cultural, economic, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Whether it’s you or someone you know, mood disorders affect us all.

Myth: Once someone develops a mood disorder, they will never recover.

That’s Just Nuts! Mood disorders are real illnesses, just like heart disease and diabetes, and there are many effective treatments for them. Most people with mood disorders get better and live healthy and stable lives.

Myth: Having a mood disorder is a sign of weakness.

That’s Just Nuts! A mood disorder is a medical condition, not a character flaw! It takes courage to seek professional help. To talk with someone who’s been there, call 1-888-486-8236.

Let’s face it… people with mood disorders aren’t nuts! But the myths about mood disorders are! For accurate information about mood disorders call your health care professional or The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.
The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario can help you find the support you need.
Call us at 1-888-486-8236 or visit our website at www.mooddisorders.on.ca.

[Note: The telephone number is a Canadian number. It is still valid at the time of this blog post. I am not a medical professional! For more information, contact your own health care professional or search online for mental health information. It can make a difference to those you know and love.]