Fame, fortune and stardom is not enough to make a healthy mental balance; Sushant commits suicide. What drove him to such extreme step is a question of inquiry today. According to WHO, more than 264 million people are suffering from depression, and about 76-85% lack basic access to counseling. Alarmingly, depression is ticking like a silent bomb, impacting huge population of society.
In Pakistan, mental health related issues are most neglected, which lead towards crisis. During a hearing of a case in Supreme Court of Pakistan, it came to light that out of 200 million population, 22 million are suffering from depression, and only 500 psychiatrists are practicing in the country. Tallying this ratio as one psychiatrist for four lac people, for a country like Pakistan, which is worst hit by terrorism, poverty, unemployment, sectarianism, raises eyebrow. Such horrific figures are evidence of a new storm. These are just quoted figures, reality could be mirker, as we do not have diagnostic culture. People feel taboo to discuss depression and mental health.
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According to UNDP’s report, youth in Pakistan comprise 64% of population, and is most vulnerable to this threat. Owing to different factors, from shrinking economy to squeezing jobs, from socio-cultural restraints to sexual suffocation (marriage), depression permeates into their lives. But reasons for depression are not limited to these factors only. There are problems such as educational opportunities, job security, society’s goals pressure, domestic issues, and marital affairs. Social media could also serve as a cause for depression. In a 2017 study, it came to light that social media could be serving as a cause for depression among youth. In a similar study, it was found that people who use social media are likely to get depressed 2.7 times more, than people who do not use social media. Even a routine also lead youth to depression as they are more prone towards variety. Too strained or too relaxed; either routines can push them to this silent killer. The result can be detachment for progress in socio economic development. A country, having a youth population, is a benefitting factor for development, but such figures of disturbed mental health, can lead towards detachment from socio-economic development.
Experts recognize different behaviors which are symptoms of depression. Poor concentration, inappropriate patterns of sleeping, changes in appetite, sensitivity about self-esteem, sad and empty feelings, feelings of hopelessness, anger and anxiety are the most common symptoms. In most cases, victim loses interest in socializing, celebrations, hesitate to meet people; he used to meet before, and gets worried about future.
In a video animation by WHO; I had a Black Dog, it is implied that every person lives with a Black Dog (Depression). And this is shown that remedies are essentially laid within ourselves; and thus, depression can be treated. There are many ways, which can help in treating depression.
Doing exercise can yield great results on physical and mental health. It is proven that exercise plays great role in maintaining a strict balance and boosting mental growth. Moreover, engaging mind in some activities, like playing sports, gardening, petting animals, hiking or trekking, reading books and watching movies is highly recommended by psychiatrists. In Pakistan, depression is regarded as taboo and victim feels stigmatized if he expresses his mental condition in society so people often keep it secret, but experts suggest talking about depression with trusted people around or counsel with experts. It makes significant impact to discuss stress or depression with people or health professionals who can guide about stress relieving mechanism. Likewise, maintaining a balanced diet and nutrition can also do a positive effect on mental health. In the same way, a proper routine with early bed and early rise can lead towards success. Lastly, reducing or limiting social media, turning off notifications from apps, and maintaining a habit of distancing from internet before going to bed, can do wonders.
Treatment is not limited to these factors only, there are many other ways, as Sheikh Ayaz optimistically puts it; Possibilities are thousand, not me alone.
Ali Asghar Bhutto:
Writer works at Sindh Tv news