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05/08/2017

About depression, suicide and other niceties

The Indian Prime Minister spoke recently about a problem (apparently independent of the lack of toilets and corruption) completely taboo and not really funny: depression.

Apparently the WHO published a report on depression in Southeast Asia in 2015 (source), then India (the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science) conducted a study published in 2016 (source).

If there was in the world in 2015 more than 300 million people suffering from depression (4.6% of the population*), 56 million lived in India (4.5% of the Indian population, right in the overall average!). To that we need to add all the other mental illnesses, which brings to 15 the percentage of adults who actually need help.

But the thing is that in India, mental conditions are hyper stigmatized**. You don't go to a shrink (that's for crazy people (maybe that’s why there are only 2 psychiatrists per million inhabitants which means there are less than 3 000 in total!)) (source)), you hide it, you ignore it. It doesn’t really help to get better.

In the same vein, there are a lot of suicides in India. On average 134 419 a year between 2010 and 2014, or 10.6 per 100,000 people (source). I won’t give a ranking of countries, it varies too much from one source of information to another, but this rate is also aligned with the global statistics of 10.7 per 100,000 people in 2015 (source). “Each year, almost 800,000 people die by committing suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of mortality in the 15-29 age group.” (source)

After talking a lot about the suicides of farmers, there is now a rising consciousness about the youth (with a suicide rate among the highest in the world according to the Lancet 2012), with nearly 9,000 students who killed themselves in 2015. The reasons stated are the pressure for academic and professional success, fear of failing and to be not good enough, as well as the difficulties to communicate with parents (source). In a society that is changing so fast, parents who sweat blood to work themselves out of poverty and expect the same of their children, joint families where communication on sensitive issues can be often silenced, a generational gap becoming abysmal between parents and children, and the social stigma, it's not easy for a lot of young people out here!

* In France, 2 to 3 million people suffer from depression, i.e. 5 to 8% (source), which puts us in the global standard with 4.5% of the population.

** “From a cultural perspective, mental disorders are associated with a considerable amount of stigma in Indian society, leading to neglect and marginalisation.Such individuals and their families face numerous challenges in daily life, both for managing the condition as well as for making them productive due to prevailing attitudes, media portrayals, societal discrimination and deprived opportunities.” (source)

India,suicide,depression,mental diseases,mental illnesses

India,suicide,depression,mental diseases,mental illnesses

India,suicide,depression,mental diseases,mental illnesses

India,suicide,depression,mental diseases,mental illnesses

 

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