Depression Stigma- Why it Needs to End?
24-05-2017 | Posted By: Vivek Singh | 1490 View(s)
A lot of buzz was created when the famous Indian Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone openly shared about her battle with Depression. It is because it generally does not happens in India and even other countries that people talk about mental illness, perhaps due to the fear of getting judged by the society. Depression is a still a taboo for the society and the culture’s tendency to stigmatise Depression is one of the roadblocks to recovery for those who suffer from Depression and other mental illnesses. Depression Stigma must be ended as it is as normal as getting a Cold or a Fever.
The stigma of Depression comes from living in the culture where having vulnerable feelings is considered unacceptable. It is pretty sad to know that World Health Organization (WHO) declared India as one of the most depressed countries in the world. As per WHO, 36% of the Indians are likely to suffer from Depression at one point or the other throughout their lives. This figure of depressed people in our country is quite disturbing. We have come a long way in development. But still there are things like this which make people question- Are we really developed?
Things are not different in other countries as well. Depression is a commonly found mental illness across many countries in the world. More than 450 million people across the globe suffer from mental illnesses- World Health Organization. Also, it is estimated by WHO that by 2030, Depression will be the second leading cause of diseases burden in middle-income countries and third highest in low-income countries.
Researchers suggest that majority of the people hold negative attitudes and perceptions towards people with Depression.
But how does this all start? Well, this process of stigmatisation starts at a very small age. Children refer to other kids as ‘crazy’ or ‘weird’ if they do not gel along with them. For instance, a group of children is playing, and there is this one kid who is neither talking to them nor playing- the other kids will call that particular child ‘crazy’ just because he or she is not talking to them. And these terms are commonly used throughout adulthood as well.
Suggested Reading : Ways to deal with Depression!
Have you ever encountered a woman or a man in bare clothes walking the streets, talking to themselves? I am sure most people have seen such a person at least once in their lives. And how many of us help these people? Hardly anyone! Why? Well, because these people are considered ‘Lunatic’ and ‘Mad’ in layman’s language. Most of us don’t know that they just have a mental disorder and need care, love and affection just like everybody else does.
Depression is one of the factors which can lead to other severe mental disorders including Anxiety Disorders, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders and Schizophrenia. But still, people in our country are not ready to talk about Depression openly and consider ‘Psychiatrists’ as ‘Doctors of Mad People.’
Often it happens that when a person tells someone that they are not happy, feel stressed and are depressed- the answers which follow are ‘It is OK! Time will heal everything’; ‘You have to be strong. I also faced a similar situation and got out of that bad phase.’ And the worse ‘You are a Man. You got to be strong.’ Thus, what is more, depressing is not being in a depressed state, but facing that social isolation and stereotyping when someone tells others that they are going into Depression. These types of comments do nothing but make a person even more vulnerable.
What is more depressing and even worse is when people, especially Indians visit and take the help of ‘Godman’ to treat depression and other mental illnesses. What people do not understand is that Depression is a disease just like Fever and need therapies and medications to treat it. It is a myth that these ‘Godmen’ can enchant some mantras and cure Depression.
There are several reasons why Depression Stigma must be ended:
1.It is a Disease that must be Treated
The very foremost reason to stop stigmatising Depression is that it is a disease. We do go to the Doctor when we have a stomach ache or a fever? Why? Because it is normal in our society to see a Physician for a little cold but highly unacceptable to see a Psychiatrist for Depression.
One has to understand that Depression is a disease which is characterised by persistent depressed mood and loss of interest and concentration in activities and causes significant impairment in life. Thus, one has to stop being ignorant about Depression and need to create awareness to stop the Depression Stigma so that people can get proper therapies without the fear of being judged.
2.No one chooses to be In a Depressed State
One must understand that no one likes to be in Depression and they too want to get out of it. Our nagging about their being in a Depressive state and not being able to come out of it will not help them and will make things worse. One must understand that depressed people require a lot of care, attention and motivation to get out of that phase. Thus, Depression Stigma must be ended because nobody wants it in the first place.
3. Stigmas make the Sufferers lose their Self-Esteem
Forget about the causes and factors leading to Depression, who cares what Science says? People of this modern age have also contributed a lot in stigmatising Depression. The stigma of Depression then makes the sufferers believe that it is all their fault- it makes them feel vulnerable, unworthy of anything and makes them lose their self-esteem. Depression Stigma must be ended as it makes the condition of the sufferer even worse.
4. Depression Stigma Makes the Sufferers Socially Isolated
Due to the Stigma, the sufferers are less likely to open up even with their close friends. It is because they fear that will be socially boycotted and will have judging eyes on them wherever they go. And it is sad to say that what they think happens in our country. People judge the sufferers- they think that the sufferer is ‘Dangerous’ and can harm others. Also, people tend to boycott the sufferers because they believe that they will also become depressed if they are in such a company.
These Stigmas can make their conditions worse and could lead to other severe mental health disorders and hence should be ended.
5.It Stops the Sufferer from Seeking Medical Help
Because Depression is a disease, it needs to be cured with some medical help. But, the Stigma of Depression prevents them from consulting a Psychiatrist. It is often seen that the sufferers face discrimination at school, college, workplace; face failure in their love lives, lose friends and become socially isolated, which makes them think twice about taking medical help. What they don’t know is that Depression if left untreated will do nothing good to them.
Thus, we must take a vow to stop the Depression Stigma and try creating awareness about these issues so that more and more people know about it. Because- Depression is a Disease, Not a Choice!
If you think you are dealing with Depression, do Consult a Psychiatrist– A Stitch in Time Saves Nine!