Since long depression has been bewailed and condemned by the society, but talking about it like any other mental health concern is rare. I recently conducted a survey among 1500 students of Patna and Bihar from classes 9th to 11th. I found out that 12.2% of them ‘think’ that they’re depressed, 17% admitted that they do self-harm or feel suicidal and 25% of them pleaded for some sort of counseling to keep their mind at peace. These results are eye-opening and demand immediate intervention.
By 2020, India will become the youngest country in the world with 1.2 billion of its population below the age of 26 years. With one student committing suicide every hour, India is among the nations with the highest youth suicide rate between the age of 15-29 years. According to WHO , one in four children in the age group of 13 to 15 years suffer from depression in India, which is 86 million people in Southeast Asian region. This alarming reality of our present is very well hidden by the society because we’re conditioned to shame the victim and only highlight the sorrows of their families. We’re sitting on a time bomb which has been kept under the wraps for long now, but the clock is ticking fast.
Depression is real and far more common than that we think. The data given by WHO is harrowing; there is one suicide attempt in every three seconds and one death in every 40 seconds globally. This is just the tip of the iceberg because the statistics are based only on the reported cases. The number of actual cases may go as high as 20 times the number of reported ones. With depression being the most misunderstood arenas of medical science, getting help or even asking for mental health care is a taboo.
People still have to understand that what others go through can be more than just mood swings or ‘Monday blues’. When the same depression ends in a suicide, it’s not just a death but an unheard cry for help which never got a response in time. The least we can do is acknowledge the elephant in the room and start talking and understanding about depression; because ignorance is not always a bliss.