How and what do I tell my family and friends if I have been diagnosed with depression?
Although there is a greater understanding in society about depression, stigmatization continues to exist, and there can be concern about what to share about the condition with your family and friends. The decision as to sharing information about your diagnosis can be fraught with more worries as to how others will perceive you than, for example, if you had to inform them of an infectious disease, a heart condition, diabetes, or even cancer.
As with any other illness, you have a right to your privacy in terms of disclosure. Certainly, the more you can open up about your depression, as with any illness, to people close to you, the more support you can garnish in your time of need. It is reasonable to use discretion in sharing anything personal about yourself; the same holds true regarding your depression. If you do not discuss it with people closest to you, you may be more apt to feel shame about it and inhibited in obtaining help and remaining on the treatment plan that you need. Stigmatization results when people hide shamefully behind what ails them. It is easier for people to hold on to their biases if they believe that they do not know anyone with depression or any other mental illness. Close family and friends are more apt to be supportive than you may believe.