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A terrible tweet about depression has the internet in an uproar.

J.K. Rowling and Patton Oswalt to the rescue.

A terrible tweet about depression has the internet in an uproar.

On Sept. 7, 2017, kickboxer Andrew Tate tweeted that "depression isn't real."

"You feel sad, you move on," he wrote to his 26,000 fans and followers. "You will always be depressed if your life is depressing."

Andrew Tate is not a medical doctor, mental health professional, nor expert in any related field that would add weight to his (seemingly unsolicited) opinion on the subject. Yet, in a combative 13-part Twitter thread, the athlete argued his assertion is correct because he believes that people living with depression are simply "lazy" and will find any excuse to "absolve responsibilities" to feel better.


As is typically the case when you're a well-known person spouting falsehoods on an important subject online, people reacted — and fast.

Musician Alex Gaskarth noted making such ill-informed declarations without understanding the issue does harm to real people.

Entrepreneur Vikas Shah pointed out Tate's tweets reflect how stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people who are struggling from accessing care.

J.K. Rowling — who has butted heads with Tate on Twitter before — suggested the boxer's tweets say more about his own mental well-being than about the science behind depression.

Comedian Patton Oswalt, who lives with depression, blasted Tate's initial tweet as "false," claiming it reads more like an "energy drink tagline" than anything else.

Other users, like Josh Peterson, used the opportunity to spread awareness on the issue and share resources to access help, should anyone reading need them.

(You can check out the full list of Peterson's helpful links here.)

Tate shared his unfortunate tweet thread just a couple days before World Suicide Prevention Day, so what better time to follow Peterson's lead here and revisit the facts on what depression is and isn't?

Depression is unequivocally real.

Or, as the Cleveland Clinic puts it: "[Depression] is a medical problem, not a personal weakness." We'd never tell someone with cancer to simply think themselves into healing — why would we do so when it comes to depression?

Research shows a combination of faulty mood regulation by the brain, stressful life events, and genetics (among other factors) can all play a role in causing depression, Harvard Medical School emphasized. Contrary to Tate's assumptions, science has shown us that it's not a fleeting emotion; it's a real medical condition, and there's no real "cure" for it.

The good news is, seeking treatment does help millions of people manage and live happy lives, even with depression.

Many people routinely see therapists, use medications, and prioritize stress-relieving habits (like exercising or getting adequate sleep) that help them stay on top of their mental health.

If you're struggling, know that you're not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression is a relatively common disorder: about 1 in every 6 American adults will experience depression at some point in their lives. Millions of people can relate to what you're going through, and many of them are ready to step in and help.

Treatments for mental illness like therapies or medicines (or a combination both) are lifesavers. If you want help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit the American Psychological Association to learn more.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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