‘We have become victims of competition and consumerism’

With Indians too getting caught in the rat race the incidence of mental diseases like depression has gone up in our society, Principal Andhra Medical College N. Kalpana Subrahmanyam said.

The breaking down of the traditional joint family system and loss of human touch in our relations has made us more vulnerable to mental problems, she said speaking as chief guest at a function organised at the Government Hospital for Mental Care to mark the inauguration of the Mental Health Week Celebrations here on Thursday.

“We have become victims of competition and consumerism which lead to depression and unfortunately there is nobody to listen and counsel,” Dr. Kalpana said. Stressing the need to revive support systems she advocated the revival of the familial values and the system of sitting and talking and eating together. Earlier, grandparents and elders would narrate value-based stories and tales – technically called narrative psychotherapy. Further, such bonding would also reduce the incidence of depression among the elderly who are being neglected, she added.

Mental health professionals have to help the patients develop a shield to help them cope with the circumstances just as a glass cage around a lamp would help the flickering flame burn steadily, Superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care M. Vijaya Gopal said delivering the keynote address on the theme – Depression: A Global Crisis.

Depression is fast becoming a very important cause of morbidity across the world as it reduces the productivity of the individual as well as those around him/ her, including the family members, he said. The policy makers should take into account the possible impact of any decision on individual mental health, he added.

Mental health is more important than physical health, president Indian Psychiatric Society-South Zone G Bhagya Rao said. The week-long celebrations are being conducted to bring into focus issues of mental health which have a bearing on the economy, he added.

While seeking professional psychiatric help is becoming acceptable and parents are bringing their children for counselling, there is a lot to be done to fight the social taboo, Dr. Bhagya Rao said. There is a gradual shift from traditional understanding of psychiatry as treating abnormal persons to promoting mental health, he added. All physiological diseases have associated depression, secretary Indian Psychiatric Society – South Zone N.N. Raju said. Every individual should try and help other persons cope with mental disease and at the same time should be aware at what stage they have to seek professional help, he added. The policy makers should realise that what affects the people affects the markets as the markets comprise ordinary people, president Visakha Psychiatric Society C Radhakanth said. Manipulation of the environment is essential to control depression, he added. Secretary Visakha Psychiatric Society N Hari Krishna, faculty and staff of the Government Hospital for Mental care and students were present.

  • Need to revive support systems stressed

  • All physiological diseases have associated depression, says expert