The topic of ‘Depression’ is being discussed a lot on mainstream media channels and social media platforms after the recent death of Sushant Singh Rajput. The talks usually ascend in a way like, “how could he commit suicide, he had such a lavish life” or “he always looked happy, how can he be suffering from depression”. This is the kind of outlook to depression and the stigmatised viewpoint towards the depressed, is what we would like to discuss in this blog.
Why is there a misconception that people who have a good life or who usually look happy can never suffer from depression or any other mental illness? Why we, as society find it so difficult to accept someone is suffering from depression? Why can we not acknowledge depression or some other mental illness just the same as we accept any other physical illness? When will we understand that recommending someone to laugh more is not the way of treating depression?
There are millions of questions like this, and a simple answer to this is the fact that, society needs to improve its ‘point of view’ towards ‘depression’ and the ‘depressed’ as well. Here is a list of what to do if you come across a friend/acquaintance suffering from depression:
- BE KIND TO THEM (It’s the least we can do.)
- Be completely normal with them (Don’t show too much sympathy or pity, it will do more harm than good.)
- Offer them support (Hint them once in a while, that you are there for them.)
- Just talk about good incidents or relatable stuff (Even if they don’t talk much, they would definitely appreciate your gesture.)
- Identify yourself with them, relate to them on an emotional level (Instead of advising them to smile, just tell them that you accept and acknowledge what they are feelingand offer to discuss the situation together.)
- PLEASE LISTEN TO THEM (Don’t try to force them to talk about it, but if they open up and start talking, listen patiently, don’t give your expert opinion on it, just listen without passing any judgement.)
- Declare your acknowledgment and acceptance (You might think you have extended the depressed person enough support by talking and listening to them, but in most cases this is not enough. Verbally state the fact that you understand what they are going through, because they can’t read your mind and tell them, “we will get through this together”.)
- Encourage them to get professional help (We repeat-don’t force them, encourage them.)
- DO THE STUFF STATED ABOVE IN REALITY (It’s very easy to read something fancy on internet and move on, we can’t emphasise this enough that you need to integrate all this in your real life instead of just supporting these issues on social media.)
Depression or any mental health issue can be effectively dealt with correct professional guidance. We, as society cannot cure depression but we can at least normalise it, so that people choose to speak up and go to a therapist for proper consultation instead of choosing isolation and eventually death as the final measure. Incredible things can happenif we choose to be a little more empathetic and sensitive towards what other people are going through. In fact, you can save someone’s life just with your kind gesture.
Team ITVI has only one message today, “Be kind and Spread love!”
Saumya Rani ( Team – ITVI )