Remember that funny AIB video about depression? It probably had a far more grim point than we realized; WHO has discovered a new major contributor to global suicide estimates and the statistics are shocking. Over 56 million people suffer from depression in India alone while 30 million others suffer from anxiety disorders and India is one of the few developing countries responsible for two-thirds of suicide worldwide.
What stops an individual from seeking professional help?
That’s about 4.5% of India’s population that is diagnosed. With the kind of attitude taken towards depression and the extent of awareness on it, we can only fathom the amount of cases that aren’t diagnosed. Indian society has created several nearly impregnable barriers when it comes to seeking help for mental health.
Lack of awareness, education and economic means are basic obstacles. Social stigma is another evil; the inevitable hushing when it comes to discussing mental health, the recurring denials and lack of emotional support from family and often, many doctors themselves that it’s “all in the head” heavily discourage any adolescent or adult from seeking help. The government has estimated that at least one in five Indians needs either psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment with medication prescribed for psycho-emotional stability. In the last few years (from 2008 to 2015), the rate of anxiety and depression among corporate employees has increased by nearly 50%.
How can crowdfunding impact the lives of mental health patients?
Crowdfunding has been fuelling millions of projects and ideas towards thousands of causes around the world for at least a decade now. Medical crowdfunding arose when rapidly increasing costs of medical diagnoses and procedures left patients with no other choice. While countless patients across the country raise funds for their liver transplants and heart surgeries, mental health patients can do the same.
Shan is a second year medical student from Hyderabad who has four siblings. While his parents struggle to afford the education of their five children, Shan quietly turned to crowdfunding with Impact Guru, knowing they cannot afford treatment for his depression. Unfortunately, Shan is one of the very few campaigners crowdfunding platforms in India have seen raising funds for a mental health disorder. And in a country like India that looks down upon those that dare to seek psychological help, what more can we expect? Support Shan and become a changemaker today, or start your own crowdfunding campaign to help remove the stigma attached to mental health disorders today.