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Understanding that mental health treatment works

“Depression will steal your life.” Those blunt and true words are from music legend Bruce Springsteen’s recently published autobiography Born to Run. In it he writes of the benefit of finding mental health treatment. Springsteen, like so many others, was affected by mental health problems throughout his life. Talking about depression, he wrote “you’re under its sway” and described it as taking life “right out from underneath you”.

But Springsteen realised the importance of seeking mental health treatment.

“Would I have been able to hold things together? I don’t know, ” he writes. “Without it, it’s much easier for things to come apart. So I kinda got to it at the right time.”

Seeking and having treatment are important to obtain the best chance of recovering and managing mental health conditions. Australian mental health advocacy organisations say that people often postpone seeking treatment due to clear of being labelled with a mental illness. One youth mental health organisation, Headspace, has revealed that half of the over 2,200 young Australians between the ages of 12 to 25 wait six months before getting treatment for mental health issues. Certainly not all of them waited because of the fear of stigma over mental health issues. Many of the young people surveyed said money was an issue. Despite the growing change of attitudes surrounding stigma of mental health, more than half were worried about what others would think of them if they were receiving professional help.

The research also revealed that over a third of the young people said they believed they could not be helped by mental health treatment. Springsteen’s openness in writing about depression seems to be a valuable thing. The conversation needs to keep going. The attitudes towards mental health many be changing but the value of seeking help for conditions like depression need to be emphasised just as much.

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