CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A new GeneSight Mental Health Monitor national survey finds 83 percent of those diagnosed with depression say life would be easier if others could understand what they’re going through. Yet, most reported they were more likely to hear statements that demonstrate a lack of understanding and support for what they are experiencing.

After a difficult year of isolation and stress, many adults are more conscious about mental health challenges, according to the survey. However, less than half say they are very confident they can recognize if a loved one is living with depression. 

“One of the best predictors of being able to recover from depression is having a caring support system,” said Michael Thase, M.D., psychiatrist, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). 

DBSA and GeneSight are working together to raise awareness for how depression feels and why it can be so difficult to seek treatment. 

“Depression is more than just feeling sadness. It can present as irritability, distractibility and other symptoms that impact a person’s ability to live their life on a daily basis,” said Michael Jablonski, Ph.D., M.S., vice president of medical affairs for the GeneSight test at Myriad Genetics. “If we can raise the awareness now, if people can understand the signs and symptoms of depression, they’ll be able to ultimately get the help that they need to improve their quality of life.”

For many, treatment adds another layer of complexity. More than half of those diagnosed with depression said they started a new treatment since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the poll, with nearly 1 in 4 respondents reporting they have tried six or more medications to try to find relief. 

According to the survey, 7 in 10 would feel “hopeful” if their doctor recommended genetic testing as part of their treatment plan. Genetic testing, like the GeneSight test, can provide insight to clinicians about how a patient’s unique genes may affect outcomes with medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions.