David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

A group of physician, patient and constituency groups concerned about confusing messages in popular culture suggesting that depression is “just the blues” or worse, a “made-up disease.” Although they don’t say so, I suspect this movement intends at least in part, to counter the very well organized and highly funded lobbying effort by Tom Cruise and his Scientology friends to debunk psychiatry and depression. Instead they want us all to believe that depression is best alleviated by removing the sufferer’s covering of tiny disembodied souls of aliens dispersed by the Galactic Federation leader Xenu. And to learn that technique, you must send thousands of dollars to the “Church” of Scientology. In the process you will learn all about the delusional beliefs of founder L. Ron Hubbard. For whatever reason, they have put together a nice website and are pursuing a worthwhile educational program. Psychiatric News

The initiative will spread science-based information to counteract “made-up” facts and misconceptions. A coalition of physician, patient, and community groups is tackling widespread misinformation about depression with a public information campaign emphasizing that the ailment, affecting nearly 19 million Americans, is serious, debilitating, and potentially fatal. The Depression Is Real campaign, which was launched at a press conference last month in Washington, D.C., will use public service announcements, advertising, and a Web site, to increase awareness of depression and its causes and treatments. Among the coalition members is the American Psychiatric Foundation, whose participation supports APA’s “Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives” campaign. “A third of all Americans believe that mental illnesses like depression are caused by emotional or personal weaknesses, and almost that number think they are caused by old age alone,” said Altha Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Foundation. “We believe we have a responsibility to tell the public the truth about depression—based on scientific evidence and clinical research, not made-up `facts’ or wishful thinking.” Coalition members said the lack of health care reimbursement parity for mental health treatments also trivializes depression and other mental illnesses.

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