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#IGetDepressedWhen Hashtag Prompts Mental Health Advocates to Explain Depression

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On Thursday it seemed, for a brief period of time, as though the internet forgot what it means to have depression. The hashtag #IGetDepressedWhen began trending on Twitter, confusing depression – a mental illness – as another word for sadness.

The hashtag took off with people listing trivial things that make them sad, as well as users trolling the hashtag with jokes about the Clinton campaign, Harambe and McDonald’s. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for mental health-savvy Twitter users to explain what depression is and isn’t.

“#IGetDepressedWhen depression is not a mood. I find this hashtag highly offensive for all those like me who have this mental illness,” one Twitter user wrote.

“#IGetDepressedWhen my brain literally does not produce serotonin & I have a mental disorder that literally causes me to want to kill myself,” another user explained.

“#IGetDepressedWhen i have depression, which is always, because depression is a mental illness that isn’t situational,” wrote another.

One in five Americans live with a mental health condition. Those living with depression have a mental illness, which is not an emotion they can turn on and off. Like any other medical condition, depression is something that requires treatment.

“#IGetDepressedWhen i forget to take my medication and i’m unable to leave my bed for days since depression is an actual illness not a mood,” Twitter user @savethebumbles shared.


Not only are hashtags like this potentially offensive to people who live with depression, they promote misunderstanding and add to the stigma that people living with mental illnesses already face.

“#IGetDepressedWhen my mental illness is used as a trendy # while my MI is ignored & judged by those who don’t suffer from it, but use this #,” Mich Foreman wrote.

In summary: “This hashtag #IGetDepressedWhen should be changed to #IGetSadWhen cause depression isn’t a mood it’s a mental illness ????.”

Next time you want to create a hashtag making light of mental illness, think again.

Originally published: September 1, 2016
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