The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, wants everyone in India to be open about dealing with depression and wants society to change its mindset when it comes to understanding what depression is in the first place.
That’s why he dedicated an entire a segment of his monthly radio broadcast, Mann Ki Baat, to addressing the stigma that gets attached to depression in the country. During his speech, he notes, “According to one estimate, more than 35 crore people in the world suffer from depression. The problem is that we are unable to fully comprehend it even amongst those around us, and perhaps we also hesitate to talk about it openly, with our family and friends. The person suffering from depression too doesn’t speak out himself as he feels a sense of shame about it.”
The Prime Minister was making these remarks ahead of World Health Day on April 7. This year, the theme is depression and the importance of talking about it.
India in particular has a widespread problem when it comes to depression. According to a World Health Organisation study, in 2015, over 5 crore Indians suffered from depression. In 2011, another study sponsored by WHO noted that India is the most depressed nation in the world with 36% of the population reporting Major Depressive Episode (MDE), the cluster of symptoms of depression.
Ultimately, Modi notes that only by dismantling the code of silence that we as a society have seemingly imposed on depression will we be able to dismantle it. He says, “I want to tell my countrymen, that depression is not incurable. There is a need to create a psychologically conducive environment to begin with. The first mantra is the expression of depression instead of its suppression. Share openly what you are going through, with your colleagues, friends, parents, brothers, and teachers.”
The Live Love Laugh Foundation provides resources to those dealing with depression. Click here to know more