The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression as, a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think and handle daily activities, such as sleeping eating or working.  

By the year 2020, depression will be the 2nd most common cause of morbidity in young adults. Unfortunately, the awareness of this dreaded disease in India is very poor. Many still believe that depression is not a medical disease and are hesitant in seeking help.  

World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.The theme of 2017 World Health Day campaign is Depression which signifies the importance of this disease in today's world.

Depression is caused by an amalgamation of genetic, biological,environmental and psychological factors. Depression can occur at any age, but it usually begins in adulthood. Children and adolescents also do suffer from depression, occasionally cases with notable irritability as compared to low mood. In some cases, chronic anxiety and mood disorders in adults are the result of elevated amount of anxiety in them as children. 

The symptoms of depression are sadness of mood, crying spells, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, worthlessness, restlessness,irritability, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, fatigue, slowed movements, talking slowly, difficulty concentrating or remembering, changes in appetite and weight, thoughts of death or suicide and difficulty in sleeping,early morning awakening or oversleeping. Physical symptoms like pain, acidity,palpitations, giddiness  can also indicate depression. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present continuously for at least two weeks.  

Effective Ways of Dealing With Depression:

1. Learn about your problem:  

In order to understand or make sense of what you are exactly going through, you need to seek professional help. Only if you start understanding yourself and come to terms with the fact that depression is not caused because you have done something wrong, will you start on the path of feeling better about yourself. Once you have an understanding, so will your family and friends. 

2. Consult a Psychiatrist/ Psychologist: 

If you or someone you love is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above for over two weeks, then the need of the hour is to consult either a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist. Seeking professional help is crucial, as it will help you to know the root cause of your depression and the treatment plan can be agreed upon after. Medication and Counselling(Psychotherapy)are effective treatments, combination of both gives best results 

3. Antidepressants: 

Medicines that treat depression are called antidepressants. They may prove to be effective in the way your brain uses particular chemicals that control stress or mood. You need to be patient,antidepressants take 2 to 4 weeks to work. It may be a possibility that your concentration, sleep and appetite may be affected before your mood bounces back, but don't lose hope and give the medication a try and let it do its working its own time. It could also be a possibility that you may have to try a variety of medication to find one that suits you so be patient. If you are on medication do not alter the dose or stop any medication without consulting a psychiatrist, in such cases a relapse or withdrawal symptoms could be a possibility. Trust your doctor, trust their judgment they will slowly wean you off your medication if they are convinced about the good recovery.   

 4.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):  

"Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior".Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a productive treatment for depression. The crux of CBT is based on the premise an individual's thought process is directly allied with their mood. If the individual's thinking is negative it disturbs the individual's mood, behavior,self worth and body as well. The intent of CBT is to recognise this negative thought, bring it to their notice and try to rectify them with positive and healthy thoughts. When the thoughts are negative it provides a vulnerable pathway for depression and when these negative thoughts are transformed into positive ones with the help of CBT not only the thoughts/ thinking process becomes positive but it also uplifts the individual's mood.

5. Good nutrition:

Good and healthy food is like food for the soul. The way you need to exercise in order to remain physically fit, you also need to eat well but healthy so that you can attain both physical and mental fitness.  

6. Exercise:

Exercise is extremely important for every individual. Walking for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week will improve the chemical disturbance that is cause in the brain due to depression.   

“Now, the stigma surrounding mental health isn't surprising at all. A mental illness generally suggests that something is wrong with the brain. Our brain is our control center. It's responsible for everything we do, and the idea of something being wrong with the brain generally suggests that we’re out of control. And as humans we hate the idea. We hate it so much that we just don't talk about it. We sweep it under the rug and pretend that it's not there.But it is. Mental illnesses are a thing. They're real and they're very present.And we need to talk about them” – Jack Harries.

 “There were days when I would feel okay, but at times, within a day,there was a roller coaster of feelings. Finally, I accepted my condition. The Counselling helped, but only to an extent. Then I took medication, and today I am much better” – Deepika Padukone.  

As the world is progressing, so should we. Let us vow not to create stigma around the topic of depression or mental illness as a whole, let’s talk about it, let's bring it to other people’s notice so that we can support and empower ourselves and our loved ones.