What Keeps People from Getting Treatment for Depression Following a Brain Injury?

Question: 

What is the greatest barrier to getting treatment for depression following a brain injury?

Answer: 

The greatest barrier to getting treatment is that people don’t want to be labeled as being depressed. So we try to avoid labeling people. It doesn’t really help to say, "You’re depressed." Instead, I want to say, “Listen. On this assessment we just did, you told me that you’re not sleeping, you feel bad about yourself, you feel down and blue, you don’t enjoy anything anymore. You feel fatigued. Sometimes you have thoughts of death or suicide. We have ways we can help you recover from those symptoms, and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to work with us on that.”

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Posted on BrainLine August 7, 2018.

About the author: Charles Bombardier, PhD, MS

Charles Bombardier, Ph.D., M.S., is a board-certified clinical psychologist at the Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic at Harborview, head of the Clinical and Neuropsychology Department at UW Medicine and a UW professor of Rehabilitation Medicine. His research interests include treating major depression with exercise, counseling or medication and promoting healthy behaviors and reducing substance use in people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.