With more and more individuals becoming increasingly aware of health-related issues the Healthcare industry has also seen a boom. However, on the flipside there is a rise of people going through depression-related issues and celebrities like Deepika Padukone have even come out to speak about it. While the goal is to break the stigma around seeking help for mental-health issues, just how open are Indians to the idea?
Recent research suggests that depression has emerged as one of the leading concerns across India and according to World Health Organisation records, 5 crore Indians suffer from depression, i.e. 4.5% of the total population. Isolation, is on the rise as people have increasingly started to live alone or separately due to work, studies, etc.
Studies indicate that compared to women with lesser demanding work, women with long working hours and strict deadlines are 75% more at risk of developing depression and/or general anxiety disorder. The pressure to maintain a rich lifestyle, with growing number of failed marriages and relationships are putting more men at a risk of developing this disorder.
The internet, being one of the foremost tools that impact a person’s mental-health – both negatively and positively- is now being used to address these issues as online counselling platforms offer accessibility and anonymity for millions of people to discuss and share their concerns without a sense of shame or stigma.
“Only when we feel comfortable in talking about depression can we proactively combat it. The more we acknowledge the existence of this disorder, the sooner we can look forward to an emotionally wealthy society”, said Aishwarya Sathyanarayanan, Research Scientist at YourDOST.com
Bangalore-based YourDOST.com is an online counselling and emotional wellness platform designed to foster mental health. It anonymously connects users with the right expert consisting of psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, life coaches, career guides and guide them through completely confidential individual sessions – through free online chats.
In addition to social media reach-outs, they run an active blog with content on depression, stress, anxiety – their symptoms, causes, etc and how to handle them through various measures. They have also partnered with corporate and educational institutions and the like to host workshops and partner with various brands too.
Being that Mental Health in India is at a nascent stage, especially counseling, YourDost has initiated talks with various State Governments to emphasise the importance of mental health and the need to open up about depression.
Online assistance offers several advantages, the first bring ease of reach, which allows people to reach out from anywhere at any time. In addition to this, since there are remnants of the ‘stigma’ around it, going online offers anonymity, hence, users find it more comfortable to share feelings from behind a screen.
However, visiting physical clinics is more effective, as Richa Singh Co-founder and CEO, YourDOST.com adds, “We believe that online assistance does not trump face-to-face counseling but compliments it. Face-to-face is required in certain cases and situations – and our experts advise clients to seek out an expert in their city if required.”