According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, India has the highest number of depressed individuals in the world. This means that one out of three individuals in India suffers from depression. It is estimated, that 300 million people worldwide experience depression and are overcome by suicidal thoughts at some point. Statistics also reveal that 18% of the people who commit suicide have a history of failed suicide attempts in the past.
It is expected that in the next ten years, depression will put more burden on nations than any other disease, as per the World Bank. As per the “The Burden Of Mental Disorders Across The States Of India: The Global Burden Of Disease Study 1990 – 2017” which was published in The Lancet Psychiatry on December 20, 2019, in 2017, 197.3 million people were suffering from various mental disorders in India that is one in seven or 14.3 per cent of the population.
And this is slowly but steadily affecting the youngsters as well. Among the 15-24 years age group in India, one out of seven often feels depressed or has little interest in doing things, according to a new report by UNICEF which warned that the Covid pandemic can impact the mental health and well-being of children and youth for years.
A survey conducted by UNICEF and Gallup in early 2021 with 20,000 children and adults in 21 countries found that the young in India seem reticent to seek support for mental stress. Only 41 per cent of 15 -24 years age group in India said it is good to get support for mental health problems, compared to an average of 83 per cent for 21 countries, the State of the World's Children 2021 report stated.
India was the only one of 21 countries where a minority of young people felt that people experiencing mental health issues should reach out to others. In every other country, a majority of the young people (ranging from 56 to 95 per cent) felt that reaching out was the best way to deal with mental health issues.
These are shocking statistics. One must look ways to identify symptoms amongst near and dear ones and help them by talking. Whether it is a serotonin or a dopamine imbalance, it is curable. The brain is just like any other part of the body that can be treated and the only way to eradicate the stigma associated with mental health is effective and active dialogues.
Suicide prevention is a collective responsibility which is not simply restricted to policy making, but also requires creating awareness and sensitisation towards the reporting of mental health, while at the same time making mental health services accessible and available to all.
Working together to prevent suicide is critical and support of each individual will make a big difference in raising awareness and encouraging conversations. By spreading adequate awareness, it is actually possible to ensure a timely identification of individuals contemplating suicide and this can be a significant step towards the prevention of such incidents.