Awareness And Empowerment: The Keys To Fighting Depression

Posted by Sona Kaushal Gupta in #LetsTalk
April 5, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #LetsTalk to start a conversation on the stigma around depression. If you have an opinion or personal story of dealing with or helping someone else deal with depression or suicidal thoughts, write to us here.

Today, depression has spread out like cancer in the society and has taken the shape of an epidemic. So much so that the theme of World Health Organization 2017 World Health Day April 7 is “Depression-Let’s Talk”. Globally an estimated 350 million people are affected by depression, and over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. The number is steadily increasing. In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 data reveals that one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. It is estimated that in 2012, India had over 258,000 suicides, with the age group of 15-29 years being most affected. Every 4 minutes there is a suicide taking place in some corner of the world.

It is so sad to see depression engulfing our society in its venomous claws. But it is sadder to find that people are not aware of the fact when they have depression, which is a pathological mental condition, and which is treatable and curable. In many cases, it is preventable also. The need of the hour is awareness and empowerment, so that people learn to say NO to depression and the stigma attached to it, and be aware of its symptoms at the earliest possible time and take treatment and therapy as soon as possible.

Depression may be endogenous or may set in as a result of chronic ongoing stress in a person.In the later case, if a person is not adaptively able to cope with the stressors or challenges he faces, depression seeps in and they can go into maladaptive coping like addictions or can end their lives.It is a wake-up call for us. If you find anyone gloomy, hopeless or helpless, not finding enjoyment in work they previously enjoyed or talking about death or wanting to die, and if this continues for more than two weeks duration, they should realize that he has depression, and take him for treatment, talk to the person, try to share his problems, help him with solutions and ask his family to be sensitive to his needs and show him that they care for him.In fact, had people been empathetic and compassionate to him at the onset of his condition, they would have saved him from further agony.

Let us all make a pledge TODAY.Let us share and care our feelings with each other, let us talk to our friends and relatives, let us spend more time being face-time than Facebook time.Let us show people that we care for them, smile at them, make them smile back.Let us not be addicted to our mobiles and gadgets and neglect our family and friends.Let us not be ashamed if someone has a mental illness and urge them to take treatment at the earliest.

PARIFOUNDATION is one such NGO which spreads awareness, education, help for mental illness to the last mile.Our Rural Model of action is different.The poor are so much engrossed in their fight for existence that they neglect the basic mental health and stress leads them to mental and physical disaster, and they turn to smoking and alcohol for recreation, become sicker and poorer and more stressed. We reach out to them with the help of ‘ambassadors’ we choose from among’st them, who are intelligent, resilient people and we train them on basics of mental health needs, so that they become our ‘pari ambassadors’ and help and teach the villagers how to take care of their mental health, be stress, depression free and save themselves from drugs and addictions with the help of our audio-visual aids.The message conveyed by these has a greater and more lasting ]impact on their psyche. Our urban model of work is different as people in cities are more knowledgeable. But the problem there is a lack of quality time for the family, parenting issues, studies, peer pressure, westernization and a lot of stress. We organize workshops and seminars where we have interactive sessions with the people as well. Our hot spot areas are colleges and schools and other hubs where we counsel our target group.Thus we empower them to say NO to stress, depression, drugs, suicide.

We use e-questionnaires which help us to detect people in distress. We guide them on as per the result of the questionnaire. Manual questionnaires also help us keep a record of people we have reached out to. This also helps us in keeping a tag on their progress in regular follow-ups.

Technology has helped us to reach out to people and vice versa with SMS, MESSAGING, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, MOBILE PHONES, E-MAILS AND VIA OUR WEBSITE

We have taken up a herculean task of containing and curbing mental illness in the society. We have to make people aware that a good mental health can lead to a good physical health, so a good mental health is as important as a good physical health.

Dr.Sona Kaushal Gupta


Founder Director Pari Foundation

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