When it comes to depression, it does not matter who you are, anyone can be depressed, ask Prince Harry. There is an urgent need to give this mental health issue a bigger platform in our social conversations.
As a global problem, depression affects over 300 million people across geography and age. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Tara Wyne at the Lighthouse Arabia in Dubai said that 4 to 5 percent of the UAE population suffers depression, with another 15 percent experiencing effects of mild depression.
With an increased reliance on social media and uncontrolled access to information, young people are showing an increase in the rates of depression according to mental health experts.
On World Health Day, doctors advised parents to beware of the signs of depression in their children. According to the WHO, the UAE has the highest levels of depression. It is rarer in children but is becoming more common in adolescents according to experts.
Dr. Rasha Bassim, the clinical director at the Priory in Dubai Health Care City says that different cultures living together like in Dubai create stressful environments more so for the young.
That, coupled with the uncontrolled flow of information contributes to the large numbers of young people who are depressed.
When parents are too busy they leave the child the responsibility of filling out their time. Dr. Bassim advises parents to balance their lives and spent time with their kids. Yet one of the reasons the parents are not doing so is due to depression, he says.
With a mental health issue that is becoming so prevalent, one wonders why it is so hard to talk about it. One patient was reported saying that the thought of someone else with a worse case of depression than his keeps him from talking about his struggle.
He is not the only one. The feeling that your depression is not real or bad like that of other people is a prevailing theme with people who are depressed.
The idea that one’s depression is not bad enough to evoke conversation is damaging and at best, a myth. It is the kind of thing that will prevent people from talking about their issues.
Depression is a lot more than being emotional and its cause can vary ranging anywhere from genetics and lifestyle to environmental factors. It can cause changes such as headaches, loss of motivation and appetite and sleep disturbances. It does not just happen because someone is sad.
According to research, it can be managed by medical care. There are medication and therapies that can help people live productively even with the condition.
Perhaps though what needs to be dealt with the most is the stigma that comes with depression which often leads to self-shaming. Public awareness can help others speak up about their struggles.
The bottom line of it is that the more we speak about it, the more we rob silence of its power to oppress.