Talking to United News of India, ahead of the World Mental Health Day 2018 being observed as ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’ as announced by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) that falls on 10th October, Professor Sagar says, ‘India has the largest youth population in the world and an increasing number of this section is under the worrying impact of depression. There is no one particular factor, but a host of reasons behind the increasing rate of depression in this age group, cutting across social and income strata. Changing socio-cultural structures and the various economic stresses seem to be at the heart of this.
‘There is competition to out-do each other at all levels to survive in this fast-changing world making young people more vulnerable to depression. The impact of social changes on family system and increased stress levels could be other major factors resulting into greater isolation of young people,’ said Professor Sagar.
A frequent contributor of many health journals including Lancent, he further added,’ Working parents barely have time for their children. Young generation spends most of their time on games and surfing the internet. Most of the games are full of violence. It is ironic that young people are witnessing violence both in real life and in virtual world.’
There is another negative aspect of changing family system reinforcing the saying ‘only child is a lonely child’. Single child concept is playing a negative role on the overall development of children. The concept of peer-sharing is learnt with siblings, which forms an important aspect of personality development, explains Professor Sagar.
‘In the present scenario, due to a rising number of divorces, single parent family structure often results in children unable to cope with the world,’ Professor Sagar adds.
There are many symptoms of depression including lack of interest in daily routine work, fatigue, sleeplessness, confusion, loss of appetite/over eating and decrease in cognitive power loss. If any of the symptoms prevails for more than two weeks, medical intervention is required. Timely medical and psychiatric treatment is key to treatment of severe depression, stresses Professor Sagar.
‘We are also witnessing the rise of suicides in young population, a leading cause of death worldwide. Mental disorders are among the strongest predictors of suicide. Here in AIIMS we a have separate cell for adolescent patients of depression. The number of such patients is on rise and severe condition of depression is endangering the lives of many youngsters.’
WFMH too says, ‘Imagine growing up in our world today. Imagine dealing with human rights violations, wars and violence in the home, schools and businesses on a regular basis. Young people are spending most of their day on the internet – experiencing cyber-crimes, cyber bullying, and playing violent video games’ According to agency suicide and substance abuse numbers have been steadily rising .Young adults are at the age when serious mental illnesses can occur and yet they are taught little to nothing about mental health care.
Back in March 2016 on ‘Mann ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern about depression among the youth in our country. Mr. Modi also added that students living in hostels are more susceptible to depression due to loneliness.
According to Lokniti-CSDS Youth Survey, 30 percent participants confirmed feeling lonely.
According to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), more than 34 percent of the population falls under the age group of 15-34 years. But the matter of concern is that a significant portion of that population feels the wrath of depression. Lokniti-CSDS Youth Survey indicated that around 37 percent of the urban youth population is suffering from depression.
‘It’s very important that major steps are taken to save the children from falling into depression at all levels including family, society, educational institutions, NGOs, governments and so on.This is high time that social scientists and governments pay serious attention to the plights of young population of ‘Digital India’. (UNI)