Staff Reporter

MADURAI: Mood disorders, generally known as depression, have the potential to become the second most common cause of disability, after heart disease, by 2020, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report. Depression is the most common psychiatric condition associated with suicide. Hence, it becomes imperative to create awareness of the necessity to get treatment for mental illness among the public, particularly at a time when the rate of suicides among the mentally ill is increasing.

The WHO has declared October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. The theme for this year's campaign is "Building Awareness-reducing risk: mental illness and suicide." "Even though sophisticated medical facilities are available, the number of mentally ill persons is on the rise because public awareness is low. Social stigma prevents people from declaring that a member of the family is mentally ill and there is shortage of professionals," says C. Ramasubramanian, consultant psychiatrist. Modern day advancements reduce permanent disability due to mental illness and convert them into productive and useful citizens, he says.

"There are many symptoms. A friendly person suddenly becomes unfriendly, shows irritable signs, a drop in academic performance of an otherwise brilliant person, disturbed sleep, suspicion, irregular at work, spending a lot of time in toilet are some of the indications of earlier onset of mental illness," Dr. Ramasubramanian lists.