Why Is The Western World So Depressed?

In theory, we in the west have it all but in practice, depression in the Western World is growing and we need to ask the question ‘Why?’ According to Mark Tyrell and Roger Elliot on the website clinical-depression.co.uk,

There is 10 times more major depression in people born after 1945 than in those born before. This clearly shows that the root cause of most depression is not a chemical imbalance. And as they point out –

Human genes do not change that fast.

They also point out that suicide is the 8th largest cause of death in the U.S. So what is the cause, and what can be done about it?

Pre 1945, our communities were secure and families, despite many failings, were largely living in and around the same community. I am staggered at how much even something simple like the mobile phone has changed the way we behave in public. We are no longer in the moment, giving our full attention to the people around us. I’m delighted when I’m in a queue in between people who actually talk to me, but in the speed of change in the last few decades has been dramatic.

In an article by Lorna Martin in the Daily Mail Online, she says

some mental health experts argue that we are more depressed because our expectations are too high.

The article was specifically about women. We expect ourselves to be able to do it all and to be strong and independent, whereas society was once much more interdependent.

The media plays their part too with adverts, plays and films that suggest that we should always be able to find happiness.

The Daily Mail article concludes that,

Though our grandmothers and some of our mothers may have had physically tougher lives, they seemed to support each other far more than the intensely competitive women of today.

An article by Richard Alleyne in the Daily Telegraph tells us that researchers have found that Britain is the most individualistic society in the world; that we valued the self over the group more than any other nation. During the research, they found that

The more individualistic the country, the higher the levels of depression.

If our old forms of community no longer exist, maybe more work is needed to create community in a new way within our society.
Please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on this subject.