Sean Morrow
June 28, 2013 4:00 pm

What do you do when something makes you sad because of its nature, but happy because of its existence?

That’s how I felt about these ads from Samaritans for Singapore:

The message is pretty obvious; the signs of depression aren’t. I’m usually kind of a cynic when it comes to awareness campaigns in the charity and medical world, asking, “Why not donate that money to research?” but with something like depression, awareness is key. Awareness could help a parent get help for their kid who isn’t “fine,” or remind a friend to be there for someone who says “life is great.”

Depression is embarrassing–well, not actually embarrassing, obviously, but the depressed person thinks it is–so it’s hard to admit and come to terms with. No one wants to be branded with crying for help, no one wants to look weak and no one wants to be thought of as mentally ill. That’s where the “I feel fantastic”s come from. That’s why you hear your friend who was always laughing took their life last night or why your super optimistic cousin has scars on her wrist.

The ads made me sad because I empathized with the character who “wrote” them, and made me happy because they get the message out there.

As someone who has taken years to come to terms with his own depression – I denied it because my mood was never identical to the symptoms of depression listed in a book I admired – these messages mean a lot.

Don’t be scared to “cry for help” – it’s not weak; it’s one of the bravest things you can do. And hey, even if it is weak, aren’t we all allowed to be weak every once in awhile?

Remember, if you or someone important to you struggles with depression there is help out there, thanks to organizations like the Samaritans of Singapore! If you need someone to talk to 1-800-784-2433 is a national crisis hotline that provides great support.

Always remember you’re not alone. No one is ever truly alone.

Do you think these ads are effective? Is the message of awareness of depression an important one? Is it irresponsible to put out ads like these that might be ‘triggers’ to the vulnerable? Talk about it in the comments.

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