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Depression Promotion in Consumer Advocacy: Sick Brains, Scrutinized Behavior, and Self-Healing
Unformatted Document Text:  18 Mascot to a recent Emotions Anonymous convention, Igor the Beaver, invites consumers to admit, as he does, that they are powerless over their emotions. Igor represents a broad range of emotionally distressed individuals, suffering from ‘problems as diverse as depression, anger, strained relationships, grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, panic, abnormal fears, resentment, jealousy, guilt, fatigue, tension, boredom, loneliness, obsessive and negative thinking, worry, compulsive behavior and a variety of other emotional issues.’ (http://www.mtn.org/EA/) While these distresses are labeled as symptoms of emotional problems (rather than mental illness) they notably include numerous symptoms associated with depression and other mood/affective disorders/. The Anonymous philosophy is that any of these behaviors causing an individual and/or his or her loved ones distress need to be worked on and repaired, by attending meetings and attending to constant self-scrutiny. Like all anonymous groups, EA is hugely popular, allegedly apolitical and has a strong base— in 1996 there were over 1,200 chapters in 39 countries. 24 EA is open to anyone who wants to achieve and maintain emotional health, regardless of “who you are and what you have done”— it heralds self- management, and welcomes anyone committed to self-reform. (http://www.mtn.org/EA/Concepts.html) Managed and facilitated by non-professionals, EA does not provide counseling, but provides a forum for public testimony of one’s problems, and to meet and aid others recovering from emotional problems. By promoting testimony, self-scrutiny and encouraging others to self-survey, the format of EA fits snugly with the desired goals of the depression script. Depression Anonymous is in greater alignment with the depression script, promoting not only self- scrutiny and repair via the 12 steps, but education (via the standard script) around depression to facilitate the prevention of depression and relapse. The group also seeks to inform and educate the public about the signs and symptoms of depression, inform them of where they can go to seek help and to establish self-help programs in their own communities. DA also does community outreach, visiting healthcare communities and their caregivers to inform them of its resources and to recruit depressed individuals. Finally, the so- 24 The group eschews the troublesomeness of affiliations by seeking to be “independent”--it does not support any social or political policy and sustains itself without outside donations, though it sells promotional items. The national EA group offers a set of four Teddy Bears inscribed with AA mantras.

Authors: Gardner, Paula.
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18
Mascot to a recent Emotions Anonymous convention, Igor the Beaver, invites consumers to admit,
as he does, that they are powerless over their emotions. Igor represents a broad range of emotionally
distressed individuals, suffering from ‘problems as diverse as depression, anger, strained relationships, grief,
anxiety, low self-esteem, panic, abnormal fears, resentment, jealousy, guilt, fatigue, tension, boredom,
loneliness, obsessive and negative thinking, worry, compulsive behavior and a variety of other emotional
issues.’ (http://www.mtn.org/EA/) While these distresses are labeled as symptoms of emotional problems
(rather than mental illness) they notably include numerous symptoms associated with depression and other
mood/affective disorders/. The Anonymous philosophy is that any of these behaviors causing an individual
and/or his or her loved ones distress need to be worked on and repaired, by attending meetings and attending
to constant self-scrutiny.
Like all anonymous groups, EA is hugely popular, allegedly apolitical and has a strong base— in
1996 there were over 1,200 chapters in 39 countries.
24
EA is open to anyone who wants to achieve and
maintain emotional health, regardless of “who you are and what you have done”— it heralds self-
management, and welcomes anyone committed to self-reform. (http://www.mtn.org/EA/Concepts.html)
Managed and facilitated by non-professionals, EA does not provide counseling, but provides a forum for
public testimony of one’s problems, and to meet and aid others recovering from emotional problems. By
promoting testimony, self-scrutiny and encouraging others to self-survey, the format of EA fits snugly with
the desired goals of the depression script.
Depression Anonymous is in greater alignment with the depression script, promoting not only self-
scrutiny and repair via the 12 steps, but education (via the standard script) around depression to facilitate the
prevention of depression and relapse. The group also seeks to inform and educate the public about the signs
and symptoms of depression, inform them of where they can go to seek help and to establish self-help
programs in their own communities. DA also does community outreach, visiting healthcare communities
and their caregivers to inform them of its resources and to recruit depressed individuals. Finally, the so-
24
The group eschews the troublesomeness of affiliations by seeking to be “independent”--it does not support
any social or political policy and sustains itself without outside donations, though it sells promotional items.
The national EA group offers a set of four Teddy Bears inscribed with AA mantras.


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