1 in 20 Indians is living with depression, as per the National Mental Health Survey (2015-16). That makes it over 56 million Indians, millions of whom are silently suffering, just because many of us don’t take it seriously. And just imagine the state of panic we as a country would have jumped into if 56 million Indians were at once affected with something more ‘visible’, like malaria. But the shame and taboo around the issue is so much that visiting a therapist in India labels you as ‘mad’, and hundreds of families gasp at the utter ludicrousness of such a ‘need’.
WHO suggests that by 2020, depression will be the leading cause of world disability, and by 2030, it’ll be the largest contributor to disease burden globally. In such a situation, can we afford to keep this a dark secret that millions of us are too scared to disclose because of shame? It’s time to disclose this secret and open up because depression is everywhere – in our classrooms, trains and metros, marketplaces, and in our homes – and our acceptance, understanding and our voice is the only thing that can drown it.
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