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What if....?

.... doctors treated other health conditions as casually as they sometimes do depression ... ?

Wouldn't there be an uproar? This French television advert, part of a larger campaign, imagines just that situation.

"The little empty passage" highlights the potential danger of not taking depression seriously. No-one expects a surgeon to dismiss a patient who needs a transplant, nor an oncologist to ignore signs of cancer. In reality, patients with life-threatening medical conditions are not fobbed off with being told to be more active, take a holiday or find an amusing hobby. (Good general advice for everyone's mental health, no doubt. There is convincing evidence that exercise in the fresh air helps to elevate mood and holidays, while other distractions often help to combat stress. Not a cure for depression, though.)

People with depression are also at serious risk if no treatment is offered. Every year, about six thousand people in both the UK and in France die from suicide.

(Ref: ONS. (2019). Suicides in the UK: 2018 registrations. Retrieved from:

Those who live with depression may fail to achieve and sustain good, long-lasting relationships or to establish satisfying working lives. Depression impacts families and society at large.

Let's not ignore it.

Ask someone how they are, then ask again.


Take them seriously.

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