Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

factors in depression

Social perspectives factor in depression

The high incidence of depression in middle-aged women, and in people from lower socio-economic classes, gives the view that outside causes, unconnected with the self, can also be a significant factor in depression.

If the children have all left home and there are therefore much lower activity levels because you are not looking after them, your raison d’êtrecan seem to have disappeared, just as a man, dependent on his role or status at work, can become depressed when made redundant or when he retires. This is an existential form of depression. You wake up one morning and say, “Is this it for the rest of my life?”Of course not, but since you have been focused on bringing up children, or working to pay the mortgage, it will take a while to f ind a new focus. Another common source of depression is in people from a low socio-economic position: this is a modern euphemism for being poor. If there is nothing that one can do (immediately) about one’s socio-economic situation, or financial situation, helplessness and despair can result. Low social skills, and the possibility that depressed people can also depress those others around them, start to compound this aspect of the picture.

However, there is another social or environmental component. If, as a result of emigration or “cultural shock”, you find yourself in totally the wrong place, depression can easily result. Imagine you were a successful (say) doctor in (say) Croatia, or somewhere, but because your ethnic origin was in the minority there, when things got difficult you could not stay, and so—after great difficulties— you, and your wife and family, left your nice house, your family connections, and your country of origin, and ended up in a high-rise block of flats, in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language very well, on the outskirts of (say) Glasgow, with the stairwells smelling of urine and people dealing drugs on the landing, and no work, and little money, and the children being discriminated against in school, and being treated as an alien, sponging on the state, etc.—well, that is pretty depressing.

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