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Firstly, I’d like to commend Mr. Vijay Sampath on choosing to write about this issue. In recent times depression and anxiety have garnered considerable media attention in the West. In our country, however, it is still considered a somewhat taboo topic. There is an ingrained tendency to view the depressed as weak and even crazy. It is considered a shameful state to be in and people are told to ‘snap out of it’ or get over it. While people are beginning to abstractly accept that depression is real and potentially serious, there is still an inherent awkwardness in people when confronted with an actual case. This lack of understanding and even acceptance, which can lead to a great deal of insensitivity. This insensitivity can be damaging at a time when, as Mr. Sampath points out, people need an atmosphere of affection and comfort to work in. This takes away the ‘safe space’ that people need for recovery. Another problem is a strong cultural tendency to distrust psychologists and anti-depression treatments. Therapy and anti-depressants are viewed as things needed by spoiled, neurotic westerners, not for us Indians. Interestingly, there’s a perception that if people find out you were ever treated for depression, you will never be able to get married. This matters in a country where marriage is such a colossally significant institution. There are thus, real fears of seeking help for depression and anxiety for fear of being caught. I believe that Mr. Sampath’s article successfully highlights some of the many triggers of depression, but I believe it did not successfully draw out these as some of the issues depressed people may face. However, coming to the reasons for this recent rise in depression, or at least this recent rise in people admitting to being depressed (for I believe people are far more comfortable talking about it in these present times), I agree that rampant consumerism, an increasingly doom and gloom oriented media, and an increasingly uncertain global situation are contributing to the helplessness and lack of control people feel. As far as the cure goes, I believe that the environment people live in can exacerbate or dampen the severity of depression. Being surrounded by understanding, love and kindness can be greatly helpful and if it doesn’t help at least it keeps things from getting worse. Professional help, in my opinion, should never be sneezed at, particularly for the cases that last longer than a few weeks or a few months. In my opinion, depressed people are also often more self-aware than people give them credit for. I think when possible, we just need to listen to them articulate their emotions and their needs. And we should never, ever tell them to ‘just get over it.’

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