More research to tell us what we already know... but actually some very interesting stuff here, both as a parent and as an American... and actually, as an interculturalist (since that's a big chunk of my job).
This study showed that despite having WAY more population prone to severe depression genetically (up to 80%!!), populations where there is a strong community process in the culture have lower actual rates of depression. They describe it as having 'a culture of we' being the difference.
Interesting question arises for me - did this mutually-supportive community-oriented culture develop because there was a high disposition to depression (therefore much of the population needed support, so they drove the culture that direction), or did the genes not weed themselves out so much because there was a high social value on supporting each other - that is, it never mattered that the gene was there because it wasn't being expressed, and so nobody even knew that someone was prone that way? A bot of both?
It also has some interesting implications for people moving into other cultures. If you are one of the majority with the genes for major depressive episodes, and you move from your culture of 'we' into a culture of 'me' (like the US), how much net do you have to re-weave in order to avoid triggering the depression risk? Or does the upbringing make a difference, so that you are more willing and likely to ask for help when you need it?
Moms in the US know this resistance, I find. Asking for help is something we are taught over and over NOT to do. We should do our own work. Do it ourselves. Asking for help means we don't get full credit. Full credit matters. It is the individual success that shines. We're better than 'that' (whatever 'that' might be). The individual gold is cooler than the team gold. We can handle it. We stress about letting go of control. We feel ashamed of letting others influence our choices too much.
And then we sink. Because this is hard work, being a parent. We need that net. We need the resources, the shoulders to lean (or cry) on. The other hands to hold the baby so we can do something that isn't so constant for a moment.
Now, I had a net. My mom realized that she had taught us to be individuals as kids, but has not taught us as well how to be IN community. So she started working on that as I was reaching adulthood (and the majority of the sibs were out in the world). Community matters. Network matters. Being able to call in the troops, raise a flag and get a response, be comfortable reaching out when in need, those matter. She put herself center in that web in a lot of ways, but part of that was just because she didn't know how else to teach it. Part was just she likes to be in the middle of stuff, of course, too. ;) But I did catch the drift, and started building some net. So when I had my first child, I had three good solid strands of web.
Three. Seems kind of iffy for leaning on.
Wove in some more as I went.
Learned that some strands aren't up for being part of a web. Whoops, where did that one go? No idea.
Learned that some can only reach so far - they'd be there but they're not close enough, and supporting long-distance is harder for some than others.
Learned that others that I never expected would weave themselves in without even asking, and become warp and weft both.
Some go slack at times and snug up unexpectedly under me at other times. Some are woven through everywhere, and others just in one span. And hey look, I'm woven into theirs, too.
It ends up being very nice, once you get the hang of it. It helps having any idea of how to go about it. I'm kind of pushy about it, actually. Er. Rather a lot, really. Kind of blunt force. But I do let people slip back out of the web if they don't want to be there.
The contrast with the culture-of-me makes it harder to do it smoothly. There is no sense of weaving into the extended web as a way to make oneself safe - In community-driven cultures, one's reputation for helping others who are in relationship with someone becomes part of the relationship with that person. So, if I help your uncle, I am now woven into your web, too, because your uncle is part of your web, and you are part of his, even if we have never met. Those threads touch, and can be pulled on in need. But here? Here, so what? So you helped him, when have you ever helped me? Me me me... sigh. So it has to be more direct, here. Which means helping closer in to more people in order to be part of the net. Who has that kind of time?
Or, helping really big when someone needs it. That's part of the loudness of my web-weaving, I learned to help big. I actually like helping big, coordinating an effort or making sure something happens that is needed. But it can be a bit overwhelming for the quieter ones, and I bet it is a little bizarre to those from community-based cultures.
Still, we're working on it. My family does have the genes for depression, so having a web is that much more important. After all, if a population with mostly people who are prone to major depression can avoid depression more than the US population just by being community-oriented, my family may be able to do the same.
Worth a try, anyway.