Mental Health Matters

The hashtag was once again trending in the social media after the death of a famous Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, a rising star in Bollywood with a promising future. Nobody anticipated the demise of the actor at the tender age of 34 as he committed suicide.  It was revealed that he was suffering from depression for 6 months and that’s probably the major cause of him ending his life. 

Once again the world discussed in social media about the importance of mental health. Like they discussed when the brilliant actor Heath Ledger died when the famous comedian Robin Williams committed suicide and in the Nepalese context when everyone’s favorite Anil Adhikari aka Yama Buddha committed suicide. All their death were linked with mental health; depression being the major culprit behind. These deaths prove that depression is a dark disease. No amount of fame, money, success can guarantee happiness with depression lurking behind. This probably raises a major issue that perhaps we have not considered mental health in a solemn manner.

So what exactly is this depression thing that has got everyone talking? Well, it is natural to feel down sometimes. In fact, everybody goes through a depressive phase at various times or events in life. We go through various tragedies in life like the death of our loved ones, loss in businesses, breakups, quarrel with friends and family members, and so on. But we recover within certain days. But if that low mood lingers day after day causing hindrance to your normal way of life, then it could signal depression. Major depression is an episode of sadness or apathy (lack of interest or enthusiasm) along with other symptoms that last at least two consecutive weeks and is severe enough to interrupt daily activities. Depression is a major public health problem these days, however, only a few people know that it is a treatable medical condition.

The exact cause of depression is not yet known. Depression may be due to an imbalance in the chemical function. Brain circuits that regulate mood may work less efficiently during the depression. Other triggers include certain medications, alcohol or substance abuse, hormonal changes, or even the season.

Till now there is no test for depression in the lab. For diagnosing depression, doctors rely on a patient’s description of symptoms. You’ll be asked about your medical history and medication use since these may contribute to symptoms of depression as well. Discuss with near & dear one, and daily physical activities can help to overcome the depressions. Diagnosing depression is a critical step in determining the most effective treatment.

Following symptoms may be observed in someone who is suffering from depression:

  • Depressed mood
  • Apathy/ loss of interest
  • Weight/ appetite changes (weight loss/ gain)  
  • Sleep disturbances (Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping)  
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of Guilt/ Worthlessness
  • Executive dysfunction (Eg: decreased concentration)  
  • Thoughts of death or Suicidal Ideation

Depression is similar to other physical diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, physical pains, and therefore, needs to be treated the same. You need to seek medical help if you think you are having trouble with your mental health or if you are having the symptoms of depression. It’s just that there is a lot of stigmas associated with mental health in our society. Even consulting a psychiatrist is considered unnecessary in our society. If we can really think that #mentalhealthmatters from the individual level, then only mental health will really matter. Then maybe we will not be hearing news of such an untimely demise of talented people. Maybe.

Rest In Peace

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