Raise your hand if you ever felt upset, only for someone to ask you to shake it off. Raise your hand if you have noticed a friend silently suffering, dealing with depression or anxiety – and you did not know how to help, what to say, or how to identify the signs of depression.
If you raised your hand to one or two or all of the above, rest assured that you are not alone. According to WHO, 1 in 22 people in India is dealing with depression. That makes 56 million Indians. This figure also makes us the most depressed country in the world.
For a person dealing with depression or anxiety, it is difficult to operate in daily life, pretending everything is fine. And when someone dismisses their problems, it makes things worse. As things stand, we all need to learn how to identify the symptoms of depression better and be able to handle it sensitively, without making things worse for those who are suffering.
From listening to them when they share their problems, to encouraging them and even accompanying them to the therapist, there are many ways we can help our loved ones cope with, and even beat, depression.
Because the stigma around mental health only adds to the burden. And only by creating more awareness about mental health issues and smashing the stigma around it – so more people are encouraged to seek professional help – can depression be prevented and treated.
To begin with, there are several things we can look out for in order to identify the signs and symptoms of depression in a loved one.
If you know a loved one who is going through something similar, be sensitive. Hear them out, without judgement. And help them seek the help they need.