But in 2003 it happened again. “I was mixing with a lot of people who weren’t really my type. And the person I was with at the time was like that. You turn a blind eye to these things when you’re in love.”
McCartney has just taken over the beauty-pageant franchise here and is the new director of Miss World New Zealand. “I have to raise my profile, and what better way than to make a fool of yourself on national television? So I’m doing one of those silly reality shows: TV3’s Sing Like a Superstar.” Two years after her last bout, she says, “I battled with depression and won.”
Young men are in a different category.The Mental Health Foundation’s Out of the Blue campaign launched a new initiative late last year aimed at men 25 to 45 who they say are one of the groups most at risk of depression.
Recognising depression is harder for men. Calling for help is even more difficult.
Stephen Denekamp knew he was gay at 13, dreaded telling anyone. He worried what his parents would think, what classmates would say about him at school. “I heard negative messages from everyone, bottled it up. That grew into really strong depression. In the sixth form I was suicidal.”
Denekamp did what many men do: “I felt if you were having a bad day, you just got on with it. That’s normally fine, but not when it’s something you do need to sort out.”
Eventually one of his friends asked him how he was going. “I couldn’t say, ‘I’m fine.’ I said, ‘I’m feeling crap.’” He came out to two of his friends, and with their support found help, saw a psychiatrist, told his parents.
Denekamp, 22, works for Rainbow Youth, a support group for gay youth, as an education officer for schools.
He says, “Young men are more ready to talk about depression now. I think.”
Why do women suffer from depression so much more than men?
That question intrigued Janet Carter, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Christchurch medical school’s psychological medicine department.
She had found differences between men and women not only in the way depression affected them, but also in the manner in which they responded to treatment. She investigated.
Carter’s research has produced the first single, coherent narrative on the difference between men and women in a relatively unexplored area.
Between 14 and 55, the number of women suffering from depression is double that of men, although depression is becoming more common in men and stabilising among women.
Women aged between 18 and 50 are at most risk. The gender difference evens out in the young, and among older people. The reasons for the difference are still not clear. But Carter has explored most of them: