Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses. We read about it every day – from Deepika Padukone’s battle with depression to international stars like Robin Williams taking their life. The frightening truth is that depression is much closer to us than we realise and can show itself in different ways, including suicidal thoughts.
Did you know:
- That out of the total people committing suicide each year, 20% are Indians.
- India has ~ 57 million people affected by depression (WHO, 2017).
Dangers of depression
Depression can be moderate to severe, but all forms of depression can cause serious harm if ignored:
- Disability: People with depression find it difficult to go about their daily life, be it work, interacting with people or even performing household chores.
- Monetary Impact: It can lead to low performance, absenteeism (be it school, college or work) and even jeopardise their career.
- Health Concerns: Depressed people do not take good care of themselves. They sometimes starve, overeat, develop bad habits, do not seek help for a physical condition, etc. Depression is the main reason for non-fatal health loss.
- Addiction: Many turn to alcohol or substance abuse to escape their woes. In reality; smoking, drinking or drug abuse only feeds the depression as it makes the person addicted to these substances and causes health complications.
- Self-Injury/Reckless Behaviour: Some people cut their skin or burn themselves. Some might even stop thinking about their actions and consequences and start behaving recklessly like driving drunk or getting themselves in trouble.
- Ruin Relationships: Depression can cause a person to go into a shell. They draw away from social situations and lose touch with family and friends.
- Violent Behaviour: Depressed people might lash out at others and even cause grave danger like the case of the lady who threw her daughter twice from the balcony. They can be emotionally and physically drained which clouds their thinking and leads to such action.
- Suicide: The most severe symptom of chronic/severe depression – having suicidal thoughts. Suicide is attributed to a moment of insanity. So, if at that moment, the person is interrupted or thinks right – they can be saved.
Depression (or suicide) is preventable. All it takes for the individual is to acknowledge it and seek help. If a person cannot see it for himself/herself, it’s essential that friends and loved ones look for red flags or signs of depression and take appropriate action.
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- Depression and other common mental disorders: global health estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 (http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/254610, accessed 25 March 2017
- Singh AR, Singh SA (2003) Preface, towards a suicide free society: identify suicide prevention as public health policy. Mens Sana Monographs 2: 0-1.