With the suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput shining the spotlight on mental health issues, experts have suggested that people first need to be able to identify the problems so they can seek help and get the right treatment.
According to Dr Samir Parikh, Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, depression is an illness that is characterised by periods (of two weeks or more continuously) in which an individual experiences low moods, lack of interest, reduction in pleasure in activities, tiredness or fatigue, poor concentration, changes in sleep and appetite, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness or even thought of self harm (in severe forms of the illness).
"When a person's functioning is affected and these symptoms are present it is important to seek help," Parikh said, adding that treatment can involve a combination of or individually the utilisation of medicines and psychotherapy.
"It is also important that people focus on self care, identify if there are errors in their thinking, determine ways to manage emotional functioning, seek support in friends and family and most importantly talk about the struggle they may have and not hesitate because of the stigma or misconceptions that surround mental health problems," he said.
Actor Deepika Padukone, who earlier opened up about her own struggles with depression, emphasised on the need of "reaching out" again.
"As a person who has had a lived experience with mental illness, I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out. Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek help. Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together. And most importantly, there is Hope," she wrote in an Instagram post.
As Manish Jain, Consultant, Psychiatry, BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, pointed out, social, psychological, cultural and other factors can interact to lead a person to suicidal behaviour, but the stigma attached to mental disorders means that many people feel unable to seek help properly.
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email email@example.com
What's Up: online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 helpline (12pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
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