Dro Carey And The Ongoing Stigma Of Male Depression

Enigmatic Sydney dance producer Dro Carey was meant to be in the midst of a headline tour this weekend, with club dates scheduled for both Brisbane and Sydney. Instead, the 19 year-old electronic wunderkind has pulled the plug on all remaining dates, directly attributing the move to his ongoing struggle with depression.

An issue which affects 160,000 young Australians every year, depression remains – particularly among men – very much an unspoken illness. Current statistics suggest that 1 in 8 men will experience depression in their lifetime, although it’s entirely possible that the illness’s prevalence could be even higher and the silence of some sufferers has simply misinformed the stats.

National not-for-profit organisation beyondblue have done much to challenge this notion over the years, including their highly successful Movember campaign which specifically targets males. Nonetheless, the stigma of weakness associated with having depression makes learning about it or reaching out to others incredibly difficult, with the worrying statistic that of those young people experiencing depression, less than half of them seek help.

“Movember was crucial in just getting men to talk about anything,” says beyondblue Director, Associate Professor Brett McDermott. “Generally men are more reserved about using conversation as a social statement.” This is why Carey (real name Eugene Hector) is a remarkable case; an artist on the rise speaking candidly about his battle with the illness, something we usually only learn about musicians in retrospect.

“Some people may think that I am hardly a champion for the cause of mental health issues if I continue to breakdown in public like this. I disagree. If you are alive, you are fighting.” – Dro Carey.

“What is quite interesting is that some adolescents feel that sadness and depression is a normal part of being a teenager,” says McDermott. “They assume that ‘this is just what it’s like’, which puts up a barrier to treatment. Girls, however, are more socialised about the benefits of talking from an early age.”

As alluded above, this isn’t the first time Dro Carey has publicly acknowledged his illness. He told Resident Advisor last year that “depression consumes and affects everything in somebody’s life. So even if I don’t sit down and consciously map out some kind of goal of what I want to represent in music, it’s impossible for any creative thing I do to be immune to that influence of depression.”

“Over 1 million people in Australia live with depression, and over 2 million with some kind of anxiety disorder,” says Julie Foster, Head of Communications at beyondblue. “The thing we really try to tell all young people is to look, listen, talk and seek help. With the right treatment, most of these illnesses are manageable.” The promoters of Carey’s shows across the East Coast have altered the focus of their gigs in response to his announcement. Both Sydney and Brisbane have already changed their shows for this weekend to beyondblue fundraisers in order to draw attention to this cause. You can find out about the events and how you can help over at their Facebook event page.

“I did not make these cancellations on a whim, or without feeling. Even amidst feeling isolated from everything, I still felt pain thinking about anyone I would be letting down.” – Dro Carey

Depression isn’t going to go away. So let’s start talking about it.

Youth BeyondBlue: youthbeyondblue.com
Lifeline: www.lifeline.org.au or phone 13 11 14