At a time when depression is at an all-time high, here is how to break the stigma, as Arqama writes….
Depression, characterised as a mood disorder and a mental illness accompanied by an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss of interest, is a global phenomenon that permeates societies worldwide. This narrative explores the pervasive nature of depression, the societal stigmas that surround it, and the profound impact it has on individuals, using a personal account to shed light on the challenges faced by those grappling with mental health issues.
The Global Landscape of Depression:
Depression is a widespread concern affecting people on a global scale. According to global estimates, a staggering 5% of adults contend with this debilitating disorder, which not only induces unhappiness but also diminishes the overall enjoyment of life. Unlike physical health, mental health remains elusive and not easily understood, contributing to the hesitancy and lack of awareness surrounding its treatment.
Disparity in Perceptions: Physical vs Mental Health:
A striking dichotomy exists in the societal response to physical and mental health. While ailments like fever, cough, or stomach ache prompt immediate visits to the doctor, the same urgency is conspicuously absent when it comes to mental health issues. The disparity is exemplified by the contrasting reactions to a person suffering from depression for an extended period – a silent struggle marked by self-imposed isolation and diminished appetite. Instead of empathy and understanding, the response often leans towards a dismissive, “What’s wrong with you? Be happy, all is well.” This stark contrast highlights a pervasive lack of comprehension regarding depression as a common mental disorder that necessitates professional intervention.
The Child’s Struggle: Parental Panic and Societal Stigmas:
When it comes to children grappling with mental health issues, the narrative takes a more complex turn. Parents, upon learning of potential mental health concerns, react with panic and anger, vehemently denying the possibility that their child could be experiencing mental illness or depression. The societal stigma surrounding psychiatric care becomes evident when individuals returning from a mental health clinic are met with skepticism and caution from their relatives, perpetuating a cycle of fear and misunderstanding.
Personal Tale of Turmoil: A Friend’s Journey:
A poignant illustration of the challenges posed by mental health issues unfolds through the personal account of a friend who, a couple of years ago, underwent a transformative experience. Her joyous day at a shopping mall, marked by the receipt of a gift and the capture of a photograph, took a dark turn when the fear of potential photo misuse gripped her. This fear, fueled by real-life incidents where victims had taken their lives due to slander and fear of damaging their parents’ reputation, unleashed a relentless doubt that overshadowed her every thought.
Breaking the Silence: Addressing Inaccuracy and Dispelling Doubt:
Sharing this personal journey is to address the inaccuracies and stigmas associated with mental health. The plea is simple: don’t overthink, don’t be suspicious, and be mindful of the conditions individuals may face due to doubt and societal misconceptions. Depression can affect anyone, and timely intervention is paramount to prevent its spread. The central message underscores the essential nature of proper mental health care in every circumstance of life.
In conclusion, the narrative surrounding depression is multifaceted, encompassing global prevalence, societal stigmas, and personal struggles. By unravelling the complexities and shedding light on personal experiences, we hope to contribute to a broader conversation that fosters empathy, understanding, and a collective commitment to breaking the silence surrounding mental health. Proper mental health care is not just essential—it is a fundamental right that should be universally acknowledged and embraced in every life circumstance.