40 per cent of Mumbai’s youth aged between 20-30 admit to being depressed
A growing number of people in India’s financial capital are finding themselves in the grip of depression with lack of social support, unhealthy lifestyles and prevalence of chronic illnesses exacerbating mental health problem.
Doctors say while rates of depression have increased in recent years due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, the stigma surrounding the subject is preventing a majority of people from getting timely treatment and help.
“Depression is more than just a low mood. It’s a serious mental health condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health. The burden of depression cannot be ignored because it can lead to serious complications. There is increasing stress in every aspect of our lives today and lack of social support makes it more difficult for a person to fight against it. The prevalence of depression increases with age and is more common in middle and elderly age group. However, in recent years young people in their 20s and 30s are also reporting prevalence of depression and image issues. Unhealthy lifestyles and highly stressful work environments are factors that contribute to the increasing burden. People suffering from chronic illnesses who struggle with long term implications of disease and continuous intake of medication also feel depressed,” says Dr Sagar Karia, Secretary, Bombay Psychiatric Society.
Doctors describe depression as a state of mind in which people experience bad mood, grief, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed and even suicidal thoughts. Doctors say the risk of depression gets exacerbated by certain life events such as the death of a loved one, relationship issues, physical illness and other problems caused by alcohol and drug use.
According to mental health experts, in India mental health disorders like depression and anxiety do not get the attention they need and majority of people stay untreated for long periods.
Increased stress, poor environmental conditions and prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles, have greatly contributed to a surge in the number of non-communicable diseases. Mental and neurological conditions and substance abuse are also included under the broader rubric of non communicable diseases and are increasingly being recognised as major public health problems.
“Improving lifestyle, maintaining work-life balance, and adopting healthy food habits can help in combating depression. A patient must also take help of Psychotherapy, also known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat the condition. It is necessary to take food rich in folic acid, Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D along with anti-depressants to treat depression symptoms. If you find any colleague or individual displaying symptoms of depression, encourage them to see a doctor immediately,” added Dr Karia.
According to a 2018 survey by Podar Institute of Education, around 40 per cent of Mumbai’s youth aged between 20 and 30 have admitted to being depressed. But a small number of them took any step to address this condition.
Disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, constant feeling of fatigue, poor concentration and anxiety disorders should be considered as symptoms of depression.
Experts say it is difficult to find exact causes of the depression as it is a complex combination of factors that includes genetics. Environmental, psychological and social factors are interrelated to each other when it comes to mental health. To resolve the problem of depression it is important to seek the help of a health professional and further ensure an accurate diagnosis is done for an effective treatment.
A WHO report says almost 80 per cent people diagnosed with mental illness sickness do not seek any of treatment. The report further says there are 150 million people in India who need access to treatment.