In 2000 the World Health Organisation named depression as the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease and predicted that by 2020 it would rise to second place. I suppose WHO didn't mean it to sound like a target to be aimed for, but we seem to be rising to the challenge in any case.And who is driving this? Could it be the people who are making money from it?
Such reports are worrying. They may draw attention to a rising toll of human suffering, but they pinpoint the imperialising tendency of the mental health sector. Our ills and unhappiness are squeezed into a package labelled "disorder" and an ever-proliferating assortment of supposedly objective diagnostic categories. A cure is somehow promised, though it rarely seems to come, certainly not for everyone or for ever.Because some things don’t have a cure, and some things require effort – beyond the opening of a pill bottle – to effect a cure.
On the subject of women's greater susceptibility, it's just as well to remember that women go to doctors far more than men, for all kinds of ills: indeed the way the stats add up, women's greater incidence of mental ills just about equals their greater number of visits to the doctors.Unfortunately, like the single issue loons who scream ‘discrimination’ on gender pay scales without taking into account the differing attendance patterns, no-one is likely to want to look at the details.
Not when the bare headlines can provide more ammunition for the credulous.