Survey on depression reveals surprising results

Survey on depression reveals surprising results

By Liz Lockhart

A 2011 survey has revealed some surprising attitudes towards depression.

Lundbeck Mental Health Barometer provides a glimpse into the attitude to mental health in Ireland and in particular to depression.

  • 42% of people would not want to know if a loved one was experiencing depression
  • 53% of those who personally had depression or who had a family member with depression said that many or some people would have been aware (up from 18% in 2006)
  • 60% consider depression to be stigmatising.
  • 23% believe that depression is not an illness but a ‘state of mind’.
  • 70% would find it difficult to talk to their doctor if they felt depressed
  • 77% say that their GP is the first person to contact for information on depression

A GP from Louth, Dr. Harry Barry, said ‘It is worrying that 42% of people wouldn’t want their friends or family member to discuss their depression with them.  Sometimes people just need to talk. It can be the first step towards recovery.  By providing a sympathetic ear and encouraging them t get professional help they could be making a real difference in their friend’s life.  While 70% do say they would find it difficult to talk to their doctor it is reassuring that so many people cite the GP as the first person to contact for information about depression. So while there is still a reluctance to discuss it at least people know where to go.‘

‘Mental health difficulties can be very distressing, not just for the person experiencing, but for their loved ones.  Approaching a healthcare professional for assistance is one of the most important steps a person can make in taking responsibility for their mental health.’ Dr. Barry added. 

The managing director of Lundbeck Ireland, Eithne Boyan, said ‘The Lundbeck Mental Health Barometer provides us with useful insights into how mental health is viewed by the Irish people and we expand our understanding year on year.  Depression is a condition that affects all members of our community and we all have our part to play in understanding and supporting those with depression.  As specialists in psychiatry Lundbeck have a particular role in education, and the Barometer results show there is still quite a bit of misunderstanding about mental health issues and depression in particular.’


This study is based on data from a survey of the adult population, undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes for Lundbeck. Fieldwork was completed in April 2011 among a nationally representative, quota controlled sample of 998 adults aged 16+. The sample mirrors the national population structure, based on the census of population, in terms of sex, age region and area of residence, and matches industry-agreed standards in respect of social class. Interviewing was undertaken face to face in-home, and interviewers were closely supervised and monitored. Survey design, fieldwork and analysis conform with the strict quality standards dictated by Behaviour & Attitudes membership of ESOMAR (European Code) and the Market Research Society (UK).

Lundbeck Mental Health Barometer  

Depression and anxiety

Around half of people who suffer from depression also suffer from anxiety. If we are feeling down and lacking energy and confidence, things in general might become more difficult for us and lead to us becoming stressed and anxious. Equally, if we are feeling anxious about things and worrying a lot, then this can lead to us having doubts about our capacity to cope which in turn can end up with us withdrawing from pleasurable situations that might have lifted our mood and boosted our confidence.

Further reading

For more information on depression, please visit:

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