We know that many people with depression do not seek help. One of the reasons for help-seeking reluctance is stigma, but previously there has been a lack of in-depth investigation into the stigma of depression.
Our research has involved focus group discussions with people with and without personal experience of depression. This has provided us with a better understanding about people's concerns that others may respond negatively to them (perceived stigma) and about negative self-responses to depression (self-stigma).
We also conducted a series of surveys with people in the community. These studies have enabled the development of measures of perceived and self-stigma about depression, and have provided information about the level of stigma in the Australian community and its influence on help-seeking from a variety of informal and professional sources.
The new measures allow us to better assess stigma of depression, and the knowledge we now have can be used to develop interventions to reduce stigma and increase help-seeking for depression.