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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Time to break THE grim silence

With depression spreading like an epidemic around the world, celebrities have become increasingly vocal about mental health issues and are urging people to reach out for help.

more-lifestyle Updated: Jun 28, 2018 18:37 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Celebrities Anupam Kher, Ileana Dcruz, Johnny Depp, among others, openly spoke about battling depression.
Celebrities Anupam Kher, Ileana Dcruz, Johnny Depp, among others, openly spoke about battling depression.

The news of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, celebrity designer Kate Spade, and closer home, spiritual guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj committing suicide, earlier this month, shocked everyone. These sudden deaths not only raise concerns about mental health but also highlight the fact that those who were working towards providing entertainment and happiness to others lacked the same in their own lives.

Read| Deepika Padukone: Talking about my fight with depression changed my life

“Depression and anxiety are prevalent disorders in the current times,” says Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist. He adds that as per the report published by WHO in 2017, India has the largest number of people with depression in the entire South East Asia and Western Pacific region.

According to Dr Priyanka Varma, clinical psychologist, counsellor, and psychotherapist, “helplessness, worthlessness, and worklessness” are the common causes of depression among young adults. “Patients come to us saying that they feel dejected because they don’t have enough to do in life. Such things happen when they set unreachable goals and then fail to achieve it. There are also those who despite being professionally successful felt that something is missing in their lives,” she explains.

Actor Anupam Kher, who has experienced depression, feels that we need to break the silence attached to the same. He recently shared a video encouraging people to speak out if they are facing mental health issues. “The main reason is that, nowadays, we’ve stopped communicating directly with people; technology is our go to point. Conversation helps in understanding in case someone is going through similar issues. Having been through it, I’ve have always wanted to spread awareness,” he says.

Much like Kher, celebrities such as Deepika Padukone, Johnny Depp, and Ileana D’Cruz have also spoken about battling depression. “There’s a stigma attached to mental illness, which is why people choose not to talk about it. It was the most difficult experience I’ve been through, but it also taught me a lot about myself and about life,” Deepika had said earlier.

Dr Varma feels that celebrities openly talking about depression motivate common people to not suffer in silence. “After Dear Zindagi (2016), a lot of patients said ‘It doesn’t feel so scary after all, so I thought I should see a shrink and discuss my problems’ or ‘Alia has this euphoria moment in the film when she felt better, I felt the same after therapy’,” she shares.

For those who think depression can never be cured, Dr Sharma says addressing the problem as early as possible helps.“Treatment depends on the intensity and the trigger point. As depression is common in young adults, offices should also have psychologists, so that those suffering can take a few minutes out and seek help, during work hours,” he says.

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Jun 28, 2018 18:37 IST