- Lack of awareness and stigma pertaining to mental health has led to rising cases of suicides due to depression in India.
- According to WHO estimates, over two-thirds of global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries like India.
- In 2015, an estimated 7,88,000 people died due to suicide while many more than this number attempted suicide but did not die.
Unhealthy lifestyle and increasing stress at home and office has led to stress-related health issues and mental health complications arising out of it. Therefore, in order to promote the importance of mental health on the World Mental Health Day, Bengaluru based healthcare firm DocsApp has introduced mental health care as part of the sick leaves given to its employees.
DocApp is an aggregator of specialist doctors, which has introduced the concept of "Stress Day off" to its team. This will allow them to take care of their mental well being. CEO Satish Kannan said, "We automatically associate 'sick leave' with someone being physically ill. However, we never associate a person being sick to a mental health issue."
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, he further added, "Lack of awareness about mental health issues has hindered people from seeking help from a specialist. We need to educate people and ensure they understand that mental health issues have to be treated, and a specialist has to be consulted for a treatment."
Incidentally, according to a report by the WHO, India is one of the leading countries in the world where depression and anxiety are on the rise. This, in fact, is reflected on the rising number of suicide cases because of depression in the country. The World Health Organisation, in its recent global health estimates on depression for 2015 mentioned that over 5 crore Indians suffered from depression an over three crores suffered from anxiety disorder.
The report, titled 'Depression and Other Common Mental disorders-Global Health Estimates' said that over two-thirds of global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries like India. According to WHO figures, the total cases of depressive disorders in 2015 in India were 5,66,75,969 which was 4.5% of population in 2015 while total cases of anxiety disorders were 3,84,250,93 which was 3% of the population in the same year period.
The document also noted that in 2015, an estimated 7,88,000 people died due to suicide while many more than this number attempted suicide but did not die. It further added, "78% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015."
Deepika Padukone on depression
Depression stems from bottled-up emotions and the lack of awareness as to how to handle it. India faces a social stigma pertaining to this mental condition and widely considers it as a mental disorder, which is absolutely wrong. Renowned Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has been there and has seen it up close.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, she says that even if somebody realises that they are depressed, most do not seek help, and suffer in silence. She said, "Back in 2014, when I was in pain, suffering alone, and breaking down repeatedly, I didn’t know I was depressed. I was going about my day, posing for cameras, getting interviewed and signing autographs. But what nobody saw was that I didn’t feel like myself, I felt ‘different’ somehow. My breathing was irregular and shallow, my stomach was in knots, getting out of bed was a struggle and I would break down for no reason. All I wanted to do was to curl up and stay in bed."
She further added, "Luckily for me, my mother understood that this was more than just passing sadness and got me the help I required. And thanks to the timely expert intervention of Anna Chandy and Shyam Bhat, and the love and support of my parents, sister and friends, I was able to treat my depression with medication, therapy and lifestyle changes."
A turning point in the life of the actress, it was also the support of her family and friends that helped her heal faster. Thus, realising the importance of mental health, Padukone started The Live Love Laugh Foundation. The foundation started by destigmatising and creating awareness about mental illness while encouraging people to seek help. The organisation also launched the 'You are Not Alone' programme in schools that was an interactive and informative forum for adolescent students and teachers to make them aware of the various aspects of mental health.
Padukone said, "I’d say there’s absolutely no shame if you suffer from depression. Please don’t hide it, feel angry, think of yourself as weak, or consider it a character flaw. It is not your fault if you are depressed. Acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery. Depression doesn’t discriminate; it can happen to anybody, at any point in their lives. Know that you are not alone, that we are in this together and most importantly that there is hope."
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:55 PM IST