The main reason behind suicides is stated to be ‘depression’. Youngsters of age 15-29 are the most affected category of depression which leads to their death. Today is World Health Day and the theme for the year is ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’.
It is important to reinforce that depression can be prevented and treated, say experts. A better understanding of what it is and how it can be prevented and treated will help reduce the stigma around it and encourage people to seek help, they say.
Psychologist and therapist, say this extreme step is taken by people who are depressed.
‘Such people are very impulsive. They stop thinking of the consequences and they just want to escape from their problems. The family and friends are the closest people who should notice the signs given out by the depressed people. Going live on social media is the extreme step of showing people that they needed help but yet they were left alone.
What could have caused a 12-year-old girl to write about her depression in an online diary in the name of Dolly and lastly commit suicide by streaming it live? Her parents could’ve helped if they had listened to her problems. A well-educated engineering student is giving out steps to suicide – 2,600 people have seen the live video, yet nobody could save him. He was so cool with his death.
This shows that nowadays people don’t value their life and it has become the easiest way to escape their problems. Depressed people cry out for help and we really need to talk to them to help them tackle the situation and come out of it.’
Here are some key points on recognising the early signs of depression and ways to tackle them:
* A depressive episode is characterised by a 2-week period marked by a depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
* These symptoms could also be accompanied by significant weight loss, decrease or increase in appetite, sleep disturbances, low energy levels and fatigue.
* A depressed individual might experience feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, with a difficulty in concentration, difficulty in decision-making, and recurrent thoughts of death.
WHO ARE AFFECTED?
* According to WHO, over 5 crore Indians suffered from depression in 2015, and globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
* Men and women alike are affected by depression, though the nature of the stressors and the coping mechanisms adopted by them might differ.
* Increasingly, more and more children and adolescents are presenting themselves with complaints associated with depression and low self-image.
* Regardless of age, gender or occupation, all individuals do experience low moods at many moments of their day-to-day life. It is, therefore, important to separate it from chronic symptoms.
* There is no single causative factor – various genetic, biological and psycho-social factors interact to play a role in the etiology of the illness.
* An imbalance in the regulation of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain is majorly correlated with depression across all ages.
* Many psychological and social stressors such as trauma, loss of a dear one, difficulties in relationships, life challenges can be a trigger for a depressive episode.
* Repeated stressful experiences tend to compromise the individual’s ability to cope with situations, especially if the individual does not have adequate support mechanisms in the environment.
* Environmental and psycho-social factors also increase vulnerability towards depression in today’s times, including fast-paced lifestyles leading to a neglect of time and space for oneself.
* Provide support, empathy and a listening ear.
* Give the person a chance to express himself/herself.
* Try and empathise with the person and try and understand the emotions that he or she is going through. Do not interrogate or form judgments.
* Convey your genuine concern and support.
* It would also be beneficial if you could help the individual to reach out to the help of a professional mental health expert.
* Be vigilant. In cases of severe depression, it is vital for the family, friends or caregivers to be on the alert for signs of suicidal ideation.
* All dangerous items that are potentially harmful including sharp objects, pills and poisonous substances need to be removed from the reach of the individual.
* Encourage the depressed person to seek the support of mental health experts to ensure adequate intervention and prevent adverse outcomes.
* Talk: We should not hesitate to initiate the conversation with the affected person, as it is important to give a chance to express their feelings and release their pent-up emotions.