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Depression: Implications for State and Local Healthcare Programs

A Personal Perspective


Sheila Singleton, Director and Founder, North Carolina Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, Raleigh, North Carolina.

For Sheila Singleton, depression is not a topic of conversation, but a part of her life. Depression has affected Ms. Singleton since early on, and even though she grew up in a "good" family where she did all of the "right" things, she could not escape her mental illness. By sharing her personal struggle with depression, Ms. Singleton put a human face on the issue of depression.

Ms. Singleton emphasized that in today's society, we consider depression a character flaw, rather than a chronic disease such as heart failure, kidney disease, or asthma. She suggested that there is not the same type of emphasis placed on the importance of treating and curing depression as there is for other diseases. If not adequately diagnosed and treated, depression can disrupt one's lifestyle and steal away any sense of normalcy.

One in every four women and one in every six men has a depressive disorder, and it needs to be considered a serious problem for all of us.

Ms. Singleton urged the audience to remember that they came to this workshop because they are the people who have the ability to support research, drive legislation, and influence decisionmaking. She encouraged participants to stand up for the people that are behind the facts and figures and numbers. She asked them to approach the issue of depression when they returned to their respective States with motivation, determination, and passion in an effort to make a difference.

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