Yay! Finally, the Department of Defense is among the first organizations to recognize that family members can be the first to detect depression and get the depressed individual to go for help. And special kudos to Dr. James Bender, a clinical psychologist with the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, He says the spouse knows the patient better because they’ve been living together for years, a fact that is often not taken into account with other mental health professionals.
Imagine the frustration of family members when they know that something is happening to their loved one or they know that medication is not being taken or certain symptoms have gotten worse, and no professional will listen to them! I know. I’ve felt that frustration. If professionals would look to new and different ways of treating people with depression, ways that include the total picture of family, friends and community, we would create a support system that would help individuals move on the road to health with less trauma along the way. Statistics have shown that depression is very treatable especially when families are supportive.
Depressed people often give their therapists incorrect information because of lack of concentration or specific feelings or simply not recognizing the importance of a symptom. Family members can give a fuller picture to the professional, a picture that might help fight the progress of the disease. Let’s recognize that we are all in this together and it is time we looked to new and improved ways of treating depression that takes in the total picture.