Experiences of depression and recovery in Australia

Searching for information

Most people we talked with reported actively searching for information about depression. They used diverse sources of information and different things worked for different people.
Various internet sites were mentioned. A few people commented that the internet was helpful as a starting point, in the absence of prior knowledge about depression. For people in the early stages of working out what was going on with them, information vailable online helped them to come to terms with their experiences. For some, this information was what motivated them to seek treatment. Talking with other people who had experienced depression was useful for others. A few women who experienced perinatal depression recalled receiving some print information from maternal and child health nurses. Some mentioned reading medical journals, particularly those who were looking for the latest information on medication and the most recent developments in research into the causes of depression.
Some people had family members who had experienced depression. They felt they gained enough knowledge about depression by observing and talking with their family members and did not need to look elsewhere for information. A few were content with the information they had received from their treating health practitioners. Some consciously decided not to search for information as they were concerned that they might find something they were not prepared to face. Some also questioned whether access to information necessarily helped make people better.
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A couple of people found information on depression on the internet and in books too impersonal and could not relate to the content. Some were also critical about what they saw as a tendency for self-help books to place responsibility for depression and getting better primarily on the person experiencing it. Others felt that there was no need to search for additional information once their treatment was working. Some believed that each person’s experience of depression was unique and so doubted that other people’s stories would be helpful. Others found talking to other people experiencing depression only made them feel worse.
Sara who was also a trained counsellor had mixed feelings about literature on depression which portrayed the condition as a ‘social construct’. She also noted disagreements about the causes and treatments of depression within the scientific community which she learned about after reading particular books her psychiatrist had recommended.
A few people mentioned reading self-help books. A couple of people found the content and advice provided in these books useful for them, however others were more sceptical.


Last reviewed January 2016.
Last updated January 2016.

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