Mental Health is a very serious problem in India.
SOME FACTS RELATED TO MENTAL HEALTH
- A student commits suicide every hour in India.
- Every 3 seconds there is an attempted suicide in India.
- 4% of Indian population above the age of 18 year in age suffer from substance use disorder.
- Over 56.7 million people in India suffer from depression.
- Only 0.06% of the health care budget in India is spent on Mental Healthcare.
- There is a severe shortage of specialists in India. There are only 4000 psychiatrists, 3500 psychologists and 3500 mental health social workers.
- While 150 million Indians need mental health care, only 30 million are seeking care.
Depression is one of the most common causes of Mental Illness.
Depression is a very common disease among all the age groups. Empathetically speaking, a person suffering from depression feels very lonely and sad. But, the illness itself doesn’t live in the vacuum. It creates an effect which affects all the people who are near and dear to them.
The fear of judgment makes them feel closed up. It leaves the family members in confusion and they don’t actually understand what is happening. Communication with the person who is suffering from depression becomes very difficult.
WAYS TO HELP YOUR FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
The question arises,
how can we help our friend or family member?
Below are few ways to help them:
It’s very important to educate yourself about the illness your friend is suffering from. It might be very difficult for you to cure them, but it will be easier if you understand their situation.
EDUCATING YOURSELF ON THEIR SITUATION WILL HELP YOU COPE UP WITH THEIR MOODS, AND GENERATE PATIENCE WITHIN YOU.
Most of the times, a person suffering from depression will never come and tell you what they are feeling. They always have a fear of being judged or criticised for their emotions. To know and understand their position, it’s better to ask them. But, remember to ask the questions empathetically. Below are few questions you can ask them:
- When did it start?
- Do you think there is a situation which triggered it? What was the situation?
- Are you having suicidal thoughts?
- What is it that still makes you feel happy?
- Is there a situation where you feel worse?
HELPING THEM IDENTIFY THE STRESSOR
Depression will always be accompanied by stress. Hence, identifying the stressor will help them and you understand their situation very well. When a person is suffering from stress, they are not able to think very well. Hence, the situation seems more complex to them. Thus, by identifying the stressor you can help them try and reduce them.
TAKING OUTSIDE HELP:
No matter what illness someone is suffering from professional help is always required. You should encourage your friend or family member to take professional help in curing their illness. It’s the stigma and the fear of judgment which stops someone from taking professional help. Hence, you should encourage them to break the stigma and take the help required.
ENHANCE THEIR STRENGTHS
A person who is suffering from depression will always feel that they are not worthy. They feel like they have lost all their strength and hope in their life. Hence, it becomes your responsibility to remind them of their strengths. You need to remind them that they are incredibly strong while facing this situation. It’s always good to boost their confidence by showing them their achievements.
BE WITH THEM AND LET THEM KNOW IT WILL GO AWAY
One of the basic things you can do is to be with them. Hence, by being with them you can make them laugh. And as we all know, laughter is the best medicine. No matter what joke, or stand-up comedy, or funny movie you watch together, it’s always good to laugh. By doing this, they will know that you are there for them and are trying to make them feel better.
Also, a person suffering from depression feels like they can never get out of it. Hence, only one sentence can give them a lot of strength. All you have to say and remind them is,
“it will pass away, and you won’t always feel the same way”.
LISTEN TO THEM
Most importantly, just listen to them. Listening to them without any judgment or criticism will help them a long way. Empathetic listening is one of the most important ways to let them know you are there for them. Also, it is the most important way to help your friend or family member.
Remember, a professional will only spend a bit of time with the person.But, no one knows them better than you. Hence, supporting them in their time of need is very important. It’s you who spends the maximum amount of time with them.
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