The news of 24-year-old Arjun Bhardwaj committing suicide has yet again brought to fore the issue of de-stigmatising depression and spreading awareness on the disease with dire emergency.
Doctors say it is high time that depression is openly spoken about so that timely treatment can save lives.
“It is very important to pick up the tell-tale signs of depression and suicide. Depression is more common than cough and cold and if not treated on time, it can have severe implications,” said Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital.
In its new global health estimates, the World Health Organization (WHO) said suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged between 15 to 29 years.
Speaking about why those between 15 to 29 years are more prone to suicide and depression, Dr Hozefa Bhinderwala believes that in this age group, the person acquires skill sets on which their productivity for rest of the life depends.
“They believe that these set of skills will be the source of earning livelihood. If things don’t work as per their expectations, they might get depressed,” said Bhinderwala.
He said this is also an age where one gets attracted to opposite sex and can undergo depression in case they face rejection.
“One needs to have the ability to cope with such low phases in life. Also, with advent of technology and social media, comparing one’s life with others is common. While social media has brought people closer, it has made most of us socially isolated from peers and family members and that is fuelling depression,” said Bhinderwala.
Terming suicide as a major bio-psycho-social issue, the WHO study said with more than 1,00,000 deaths, India is now heading towards becoming the global capital of suicide.
“There is an urgent need to have suicide prevention programmes in schools and colleges. Every day, in India, 16 people commit suicide. A person speaking about suicide has to be taken seriously. It is a cry for help,” said Dr Anjali Chhabria, Psychiatrist and author of the book ‘Death is not the answer’.
“Youngsters have started making the virtual world an integral part of their lives and are forgetting the difference between reality and virtual arena. Also, as might be in this case, alcohol and drugs definitely make mentally unstable people more prone to these kinds of judgement errors. In India, self-harm is the leading cause of death as per the Lancet 2016,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, Psychiatrist.