World Health Day: India takes a strong stand to fight against depression
New Delhi, April 8: There is a change in the air and it's definitely welcoming. Depression, which till a few years ago was a subject hardly discussed in public in the country, has becoming a rallying point for many to stand together and help each other in fighting the disease that has reached a mammoth proportion. Reports say every 20th Indian is depressed.
According to the World Health Organisation, a total of 4.5 per cent people in India suffer from depression. This is not a joke, but a serious public health crisis. Thankfully, from politicians to celebrities, all are talking about depression and creating awareness about it.
Few days ahead of World Health Day, observed across the world on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio programme--Mann ki Baat--spoke about depression and asked his fellow Indians to speak, share and care about each other.
This year, the theme of World Health Day campaign was depression. World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 by the WHO. "We (in India) are afraid to talk about it (depression) openly," the PM said. "The focus of World Health Day this year is depression," he added.
The PM insisted that those who are depressed must share how they feel with their loved ones. "Suppression of depression is not good. Expression is always good. If depressed, share your feelings with others, it will make you feel better," PM Modi said.
Union Minister of Health JP Nadda on Friday said more National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences-like institutes would be set up in the country. Speaking at an event in the national capital to mark the World Health Day, Nadda also assured greater government focus on civil society organisations engaged in mental healthcare.
The health minister said that proper implementation of the Mental Health Policy would be ensured. "Focus should be on pluralism, cross references and sharing of various practices covering geriatric, palliative and rehabilitative care. As part of its renewed strategy for mental healthcare services, the government is strengthening Public Health Centres and Community Health Centres," said Nadda.
Similarly, on the television, the whole day advertisements focusing on depression were aired. There are a number of helplines across India that provides support to people who are looking for assistance and help to deal with depression. All these helpline numbers keep the identity of people anonymous.
Here are some of the helpline numbers:
iCALL: 022 25521111
Vandravela Foundation: 1860 2662345
Lifeline: 033 24637401
Sneha: 044 24640050
Sumaitri: 011 23389090
Parivarthan: 91 7676602602
Sahai: 080 25497777
Experts say depression is no more a taboo in the country and it is a major victory in India's war against the disease.