Key Questions about seeking help answered by experts:

Doctors take on stigma around mental health and why is it still considered a taboo in a country like India?

Most Indians still follow the path of religion and gurus to navigate their emotional needs. However, we are slowly moving from this holistic model of emotional and spiritual care to an individual one. Therapy is an extremely private space. This individuation of mental health needs is new and stigmatized because it’s confusing, especially with Indian style of parenting and upbringing. Some of us still believe that all our mental health issues can be and should be dealt with by and with our family members. We are also gradually moving away from the religion to science to explain our basic states of mind and consciousness. This doesn’t mean that religion is bad for your mental health, but it should just not be the first step of intervention. Science has allowed us to study the brain and the body deeply, which makes it the best form of intervention we have right now. A lack of education and understanding of these matters also adds to the stigmatization.

What is the way forward for people to come out in open and talk about it without hesitation?

Simply talking about it goes a long way – each one of us makes a society. If I talk about it today and share my experience of my mental health journey – how therapy helps, how medicine works, at least 2 people will believe me. Those 2 people can talk to 4 more. We have to keep taking this forward and increase exponentially. Make sure you follow Psychologists and Psychiatrists on social media. Share their posts because they are working overtime to educate people. They share informed and easy to understand posts and social media is a great tool to spread the right kind of information. Try to bust myths around mental health whenever you can, for eg., “I don’t need to go see a Psychologist because I am not crazy.” You don’t need to have a full-blown mental breakdown to go see a therapist. There is preventive care, just like how we take care of a fever before it turns into pneumonia. We don’t need to wait for us to be completely shattered and broken before we access care. Lastly, don’t talk about someone else’s illness if you don’t fully understand it. Talk about yours as authentically as you can, and that would give everyone elese their own space to share their experiences and in this way, we can also avoid misinformation.

How one can detect that person is suffering from depression and what is the road to recovery?

There are mainly 9 symptoms of depression – hopelessness, lack of interest in things, sleeping too much or too less, eating too much or too less, suicidal thoughts and/or behaviour, low mood, irritability, lack of concentration and fatigue. If you’re consistently experiencing at least 3-4 of them, there’s a chance that you may be becoming depressed. Catching early signs is important, when you start to feel this way, consciously try to bring in some life changes.

To sum it up

Mental health matters. It is important to dispel myths and misconceptions and encourage others to seek help. Our mental state affects every aspect of our lives – professional and personal. We have to acknowledge, accept and seek help when we are dealing with mental health issues. Get in touch with an expert from the comfort of your home on DocVita: docvita.com.