I have recently noticed another key difference between mental and physical illness – the direction of the sympathy.
If two friends hear that Fred has broken his leg, the conversation is full of concern for him – “Poor Fred. Wonder how he’s coping? Hope it won’t take long to heal. Must send him some fruit.” Some concern may or may not also be expressed for Freda, his wife.
However, when two friends hear that Fred has got depression, the conversation hardly mentions Fred at all. “Golly!” they say. “Poor Freda having to cope with a depressed husband. It must be very hard for her. It’s so difficult to care for someone with a mental illness.”