mid-day editorial: The great depression needs to be addressed

Apr 07, 2017, 05:41 IST | mid-day correspondent

Engineering student Arjun Bhar­adwaj recently made it to the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. The 24-year-old came under the limelight after he jumped off the 19th floor of Taj Lands End, while live streaming his suicide on Facebook. The incident has shocked even an inured city like Mumbai.

Today is World Health Day and the theme for this year, as decided by the World Health Organisation, is depr­e­s­­sion. Fortunately, the city that never sleeps is gradually waking up to ways to combat depression and shedding the stigma associated with it. In fact, several workshops are being conducted across hospitals to create awareness about the same.

Professionals say the first step to battle this illness is to recognise depression for what it is. There's an urgent need to recognise the various signs of depression. It's time to focus aggressively on depression and save people from denial.

While more counsellors are available now than before, and many hel­plines have been launched to address the issue, this domain is still ruled by charlatans and hocus-pocus self-styled healers. Unfortunately, people choose to seek advice from shams spouting mumbo jumbo, instead of reaching out to professionals.

The fact that depression is still associated with shame and stigma in several households is regrettable. In many families, the depressed are told to 'snap out of it' or convinced 'it's all in your head'. Professionals insist that individuals who threaten to commit suicide must be taken seriously, but the ignorant argue that 'those that threaten, don't commit'.

Let medical centres be at the forefront of this fight against depression. Timely diagnosis and professional handling are the need of the hour. Even if a single life is saved from the clutches of depression, these initiatives will not have been in vain.

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