Breaking the Myth About Depression ( Part III)
(continued from previous post)
Words play an important role in the misinformation about depression. We take a look at phrases that are often told to teens showing signs of depression, and we break the myth that surrounds these phrases.
#6 ” Why would my child be depressed, he has got everything”
Depression can happen even when life seems to be going well- and it can affect about anybody, even the privileged. Depression can be the result of trauma but trauma isn’t its only contributor. It is caused by a complex combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Since teenage years can be a time of a great amount of pressure and uncertainty, when problems can range from hormonal changes to issues at home or school- teens are more susceptible to it. Depression doesn’t necessarily only happen when something evidently bad happens in somebody’s life.
#7 “Counselling? For what?”
In India, the government estimates that 1 in 5 people in the country need counselling. When mental health issues emerge, counselling is the first option that is often suggested by health care professionals. The myth that surrounds counselling gives the average person the impression that counselling is just a conversation between a patient and a mental health professional, and so it is a waste of time and money. But counselling does much more than that. Counselors focus on solving problems in the present and future. Counselling provides tools for solving problems and enhancing quality of life- these tools may include relationship skills, anger management, or techniques for controlling thoughts and actions. One doesn’t necessarily even need to have a mental illness to benefit from it.
#8 ” You mean my child is mad?”
Words matter, especially when we’re talking about mental illness. To tell somebody they are “mad” is to shame them and make them feel broken or incomplete. Words like “crazy” or “insane” have developed a highly negative connotation in society. To a person suffering from a mental illness, words like these are hurtful and counterproductive. They can often make them feel lonely and ashamed. Mental illnesses are not incurable- they are also very common and no one is alone in experiencing them. Words contribute to stigma and stigma attached to mental health often keeps people from getting the help they need. Being conscious of your language is one way to combat this prevailing stigma.
#9 ” It’s just a phase”
Depression is not something that can be turned on and off, or passed off as a “phase”. Some people believe depression is imaginary and it is possible to think your depression away.But that is a myth. Depression is not imaginary, it is a real and complex health problem involving an intricate web of biological systems—nervous, digestive, endocrine, and respiratory.
#10 ” Grow up”
Over five crore Indians suffer from depression and it is a major contributor to global suicides. In India, WHO estimated that 7,88,000 people died due to suicide in the year 2015. Immaturity or childishness has nothing to do with depression. It is not a condition one can outgrow- and it is not limited to any age group.
Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to depression. Teens can be particularly sensitive to it since they are at a time in their lives where nearly all things are unsettled and so many things are new. One must deal with teens with love, care and guide them in times of distress without judgement.