‘Tsunami of depression’ reported in T&T

Trinidad Guardian:-  Na­tion­al award win­ner and sec­re­tary of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Psy­chi­a­trists of T&T Dr Var­ma Deyals­ingh is urg­ing cit­i­zens to look out for signs of de­pres­sion in their loved ones be­fore it reach­es the point of sui­cide.

Speak­ing dur­ing CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew yes­ter­day, Deyals­ingh said a “tsuna­mi of de­pres­sion is de­scend­ing up­on T&T.”

Say­ing it was im­por­tant for par­ents, teach­ers, co-work­ers, and friends to look out for signs of de­pres­sion, Deyals­ingh said world­wide de­pres­sion has been on the in­crease.

“The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion es­ti­mates that 350 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide are suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion.

Youths be­tween the ages of 15 to 29 are more like­ly to suf­fer and Deyals­ingh said it was im­per­a­tive for par­ents to en­cour­age com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their chil­dren.

Deyals­ingh said tra­di­tion­al­ly peo­ple de­pend­ed on their re­li­gious lead­ers to as­sist them with deal­ing with prob­lems.

How­ev­er, he said in­creas­ing­ly peo­ple were mov­ing away from re­li­gion be­liev­ing they could deal with de­pres­sion on their own.

He added that the stig­ma as­so­ci­at­ed with men­tal health con­tin­ues to be a ma­jor prob­lem, adding that pro­longed agony stem­ming from be­reave­ment, re­la­tion­ship, and do­mes­tic prob­lems may trig­ger de­pres­sion.

Deyals­ingh al­so said there were signs as­so­ci­at­ed with de­pres­sion that peo­ple should be aware.

“If you ex­pe­ri­ence sad­ness for more than two weeks; if you be­gin to lose the en­joy­ment of the things that made you hap­py and if you be­gin to see ap­petite changes and changes in be­hav­iour, then you may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­pres­sion,” Deyals­ingh added.

He al­so said that be­tween 2005 to 2015, de­pres­sion in T&T in­creased by 18 per cent.

“Sui­cide is the sec­ond high­est cause of death in ages 15 to 29. If you have a child, you ex­pe­ri­ence these signs then you must reach out and get help for them as soon as pos­si­ble,” Deyals­ingh added.

Aside from de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, some chil­dren may even be­gin lash­ing out.

He al­so said it was part of the T&T cul­ture to triv­i­alise de­pres­sion.

“If some­one men­tions some­thing about de­pres­sion, that per­son is cry­ing out for help.

“In their minds they have an in­ner tor­ment which they are go­ing through to find ways to reach out to peo­ple,” Deyals­ingh added.

He said two-thirds of the peo­ple who suf­fer from de­pres­sion will not come for­ward for treat­ment be­cause of the stig­ma.

“We are high­ly de­pen­dent on rel­a­tives and co-work­ers to as­sist. We have to re­struc­ture our sys­tems in T&T so that peo­ple will be will­ing to come for­ward,” Deyals­ingh added.

He not­ed that peo­ple can ac­cess the Na­tion­al Fam­i­ly Ser­vices Di­vi­sion which can be reached at 794-7483 or 784-5538 or by vis­it­ing the of­fices to re­ceive free coun­selling and sup­port.