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Fighting depression: The need for awareness is here

By Nikita Nayar

Season 2 of the popular Netflix TV Series 'Thirteen Reasons Why' has yet again spurred a topic of debate regarding teenage suicides and depression. The lack of attention given to such matters by the school authorities have been of major concern lately. The show intends to spread the importance of having conversations regarding the problems that teenagers face and how it is to be dealt with. But many critics of the movie claim that the show tends to glorify suicide and puts the thought of it in the minds of young people.

Fighting depression: The need for awareness is here

In a country where a large number of people undergo symptoms of depression and mental stress, you would notice that more than half of these people would refuse to go meet a therapist as they fear what people would say. But thankfully this mindset is now slowly changing amongst the youth. It is natural that the symptoms of depression are seen particularly in children nowadays considering the fact that the competition amongst them to ace in academics is high.

"There are children who are not self-aware. They don't know they have mental health issues, so they don't seek health. They are mostly spotted by the teachers and are referred to counselors.", says Mellanie Shibu, a school counselor. "Aside from counselling services that deal with mental illnesses, there should be a mental health program that empowers children to cope with pressures, demands or expectations."

Academics is still just one of the reasons why children are stressed - social stress, family problems, low self-esteem and peer pressure are other factors that tend to cause anxiety amongst children.

Hence it is important to lookout for symptoms of stress such as low temper, skipping meals and drastic changes in behaviour in teenagers as they ultimately begin to use unhealthy means to cope with the stress. Such means are also later on carried to adulthood.

"In our society, depression is not dealt with properly and a lot of people are even unaware about it.", says Trisha, a first year college student "On the contrary, some people have also started using depression as an excuse for other things in life." It is very important to have preventives than to find a cure. Students should be exposed to enough programs wherein they learn how to respond to mental illnesses.

While some students tend to keep their problems to themselves, some others have begun to come out of their comfort zones to talk about all the issues they face. Talking to them makes them realize that suicide is not the one and only solution to problems. "Depression isn't anything 'beautiful' or 'fascinating' as its often made out to be. It is real, cruel and killing people both physically and mentally.", suggests Apoorva Anand, a second year psychology student.

Depression amongst the youth are on the rise in the country due to several reasons but one of the most prominent one is the fact that parents pressurise their kids into doing several things that they don't necessarily like. It is important to teach children the importance of being self-aware and how to take care of their over-all well-being, to spot signs of mental illness, to help them or to seek for help.

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