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Breaking Depression

Breaking Depression is a global initiative by Janssen, which aims to raise awareness of the spectrum of depression and the challenges of living with different types of depression.

Depression in Australia

Australia is in the midst of a national mental health crisis, with more 2.1 million Australians, or 9.3% percent of our population, experiencing some form of depression[i]

COVID-19 has created a heightened state of anxiety worldwide, but for those with pre-existing mental health conditions, the impact of the pandemic is particularly difficult.[ii] 

Breaking Depression

The spectrum of depression

When people think of the term "depression," they're usually thinking of clinical depression, which is also known as major depressive disorder or MDD.[i]  


MDD, like other leading health conditions, is a spectrum – there are many different types of depression.

Every experience with MDD is different. For some it may be a lifelong chronic condition, for others, their experience may be acute or episodic.[ii]

MDD can be hard to treat, and many people experiencing the condition will need the support of healthcare professionals, including a psychiatrist.4 

For those experiencing MDD, it is important to seek assessment, diagnosis and treatment. If first treatment fails, it’s important to persist in finding a solution.4


Find out more about how you can get support below.


Major depressive disorder (MDD)

On average, around 1 in 6 Australians – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – will experience Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at some point in their lives.1

People living with MDD experience a depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Their symptoms are present nearly every single day for at least two weeks and can often be long-lasting and recurring.3,[i]

Of those living with MDD, up two one-third are effected by treatment resistant depression (TRD).[ii] 


TRD is defined as a lack of improvement in MDD symptoms following adequate trials of two or more antidepressants.2

TRD is a devastating chronic condition that has a profound lifelong impact, placing ongoing emotional, functional, and economic burden on the individual, their loved ones, and society.[iii],[iv]

TRD can leave people feeling desperate for anything to work for them, but exhaustion from the relentless treatment cycle weakens their resolve to keep hoping and trying for better.3

Find out more about how you can get support below.



About Breaking Depression

Breaking Depression is a global initiative by Janssen, which aims to raise awareness of the spectrum of depression and the challenges of living with different types of depression.

Janssen has a strong heritage in helping to reduce the burden, disability and devastation caused by mental health disorders and is committed to transforming individual lives.  


Despite how often you hear the term, depression is still a largely misunderstood and stigmatised disease.

Up to 85% of Australians experiencing mental illness are concerned about stigma,8 and worldwide less than a quarter of people experiencing mental illness seek help.4

It is time to break through the darkness and bring light into the lives of people with major depressive disorder.



The Art of Kintsugi

Breaking Depression is inspired by the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold.

Translating to ‘golden joinery’, kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to conceal.

Like the mending of the broken ceramics, the cracks and imperfections represented in the stories of people living with MDD symbolises the complex and lengthy repair process, while celebrating their what makes each person, and their journey, unique.



Two Inspiring People

Janssen believes that sharing stories about individual’s journeys with mental health is an important source of support to others who may be experiencing mental illness.


The stories featured here are of real Australians, sharing their journey with MDD. We thank Janne and Norm for speaking their truth in their own words.


I will continue to triumph over my depression no matter how strongly it tries to take over my life. Depression can hold you down, but it shouldn't hold you back.

Norm Wortherspoon



Major depressive disorder does not define me. I will not let it define who I am, or what I do. This is my story and this is real. You are not alone in this.

Janne McMahon



Additional Resources
Find Support

There are many resources available to support people living with MDD. Use the links below to find out more about depression and how you can find the right support.

Find Support

Help is available if you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress. Talk to someone you trust about what you are thinking, such as a friend, family member, or your GP, or contact one of these services.

Note, if you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger, please call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

  1. Lifeline 13 11 14
  2. Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  3. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  4. Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  5. MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
  6. QLife 1800 184 527
[i] Malhi GS et al. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2015;49:1–185.
[ii] Al-Harbi K. Patent Prefer Adherence 2012;6:369–88.
[iii] Rush AJ et al. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163(11):1905-1917
[iv] Mental Health Australia. Consumer and Carer Experiences of Stigma from Mental Health Professonals 2013. Available at: (accessed July 2020).
[v] World Health Organization. Depression and other common mental disorders. Available at: (accessed July 2020).
[vi] KPMG. The rising social and economic cost of depression: seeing the full spectrum. Available at: (accessed August 2021).
[vii] Swinburne University of Technology. Major Depressive Disorder. Available at:,some%20point%20in%20their%20lives. Date accessed: February 2021.
[viii] Fisher JRW et al. Mental health of people in Australia in the first month of COVID-19 restrictions: a national survey. Med J Aust 2020. Available at (accessed July 2020).
Sep 29, 2021