"Mental health" has been referred to more often than it was in the past. Gradually, myths and stigma related to psychiatry are fading away. Any psychiatric disorder is as impairing as any physical illnesses and sometimes even more. Mental health is as important as physical health. Who states Depression is one of the more common psychiatric illnesses, about 300 million people are affected worldwide. Depression may present with death wishes and suicidal ideas. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year old.

Indicators related to Depression:

  1. persistent low mood for more than 2 weeks
  2. thoughts of helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness
  3. poor energy levels / feeling tired easily and persistently
  4. lack of interest in any activities 
  5. death wishes
  6. self-reproach
  7. poor confidence & concentration
  8. increased/ decreased sleep duration
  9. increased/decreased appetite/weight
  10. decreased social interaction
  11. decreased amount of thoughts

Living with depression is like living with any other disability. It makes it harder for one to function in a professional or personal front. If you sense the above indicators in self or others you should seek help or go in for detailed assessment from a mental health professional.  If depression has been a chronic & recurring type. It can make you feel helpless, hopeless and fatigued. These feelings can often make you want to give up. Recognising that these thoughts are part of your depression is one step toward recovery.

Additional steps to overcome depression

  1. Set reminder on phone to take medicines
  2. Meditation - lessens negative thoughts
  3. Gratitude journal - reduce depression
  4. Exercise - endorphins are released that make one feel good
  5. Read motivational books
  6. Set realistic goals for yourself.
  7. Create and follow a schedule or a timetable for yourself. 
  8. Learn and practice relaxation techniques
  9. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and excess tea & coffee
  10. Sleep well
  11. Eat well
  12. listen to upbeat music
  13. Compliment yourself on achievements
  14. Regular follow up with psychiatrist or psychologist

Treatment of depression would be a combination of antidepressants & counselling. The goal of recovery in depression is different.

Recovery model emphasizes the following:

  • Doesn't focus on full symptom resolution but emphasizes resilience and better mental strength to deal with problems in life.
  •  Find hope and adopt a more positive gratitude way of living;
  •  Personal empowerment in your one's treatment and wellness; 
  •  Improving knowledge about one's illness and its treatments; 
  •  Establishing support networks and seeking inclusion;
  •  Developing and refining coping strategies; 
  •  Creating a good support system (home, work & community); 
  •  Defining a sense of meaning for your life.

What can you do to help someone with depression

  1. Seek help --> Encourage them to consult a psychiatrist or other mental health professional
  2. Communication --> Connect with and support a friend through it
  3. Stress management ---> attend such workshops or consult a psychiatrist for the same.
  4. Encouragement --> encourage to carry out daily life activities
  5. Help --> people with severe depression might need help with daily life activities
  6. Recognition --> learn and educate self about depression & signs of suicide. Dont tell them to snap out of it. Psychiatric disorders are illnesses and not character flaws.
  7. Be Patient with them. 

Lastly, Depression can affect anyone as it is seen as a result of neurochemical disturbance. Let's talk and act on it.