Study: Depression Far More Common Than Commonly Thought

View of the mental health center in the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

More than half of all Israelis know someone who has suffered from depression at some time in the past, while almost a third have themselves experienced depression. The figures are based on a study by the Lishma organization, which provides assistance to Israelis with clinical depression.

The poll of 503 Israelis in a representative sample of individuals 18 through 65 years of age showed that 63% know someone who has or is currently suffering from depression. Meanwhile, one out of every three said that they themselves had been or currently were depressed. Of those, 79% said they were depressed over an illness, 77% had post-partum depression, 74% said that they were depressed over relationship issues, and 58% said work issues bothered them. About 30% of all Israelis said that to overcome depression medical assistance was needed, while 30% said that individuals could overcome depression by themselves.

When asked what behaviors typified depression, 88% said that “a dispirited attitude” was a sign of depression, 78% said that depression was associated with suicidal thoughts, 77% said that disinterest in their surroundings typified depression, and 76% said that changes in weight or eating habits were typical.

Dr. Shachak Yariv of the the Ha’emek Hospital Center for Mental Health said that “people do not choose to become depressed, and as such they cannot choose to be rid of depression. The depressed need help, both psychological and medication-based. Depressed people are likely to lose their desire to live and may even try suicide. If someone sees an individual who appears depressed they should engage them and try to determine their state of mind, and get [him or her] help as soon as possible.”

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