Chennai: Depression, which is a common mental disorder according to the World health Organization (WHO), is 50 per cent higher among women than men.
With India being identified as the country with the highest rates of depression, the WHO states that India’s hidden burden of depression could seriously spike the country’s suicide figures.
“Women are highly prone to depression, a significant contributor to disease and even suicidal tendencies,” said counsellor Dr P. Nilam.
According to a research paper published by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, the official publication of the Indian Psychiatric Association, depression is widely prevalent in women in all age groups especially in India.
In the current scenario of under-diagnosed, untreated cases of females suffering from depression, the hurdles faced by Indian women include inadequate number of mental health professionals, lack of awareness, stigma, disadvantaged position of women, multiple roles, increased levels of stress, and domestic violence.
The 104 helpline, which began with merely 20 per cent calls from women, now gets around 50 per cent calls from women. “Women tend to face twice the amount of depression that men do, but due to the fear of being judged, they prefer bottling up their problems, which adds to their depression,” said B. Elayaraja, a psychologist at the helpline.
With many parts of the country yet to recognise women as equal to men, women tend to face a lot of societal pressure. “Patriarchal hogwash in many villages and some urban areas as well, forces women to refrain from touching anyone or anything during their menstrual cycle. It can affect a woman to the extent of making her feel disgusted at herself,” said Dr. Nilam.
“Women tend to face more stress caused due to psychological stress factors and biological vulnerability. The responsibilities that women tend to take on themselves can also lead to a lot of stress, especially with the society looking down on them,” said Psychiatrist Dr. Suresh Kumar....