By: Bismah Khan
There is no greater medicine then love. In the words of Dalai Lama, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Karachi: In Pakistan the medical field of mental illnesses needs more spotlight. It has afflicted 10-16 percent of the population. According to the WHO, only 400 psychiatrists and 5 psychiatric hospitals exist within the entire country for a population exceeding 180 million. This roughly translates to an alarming psychiatrist-to-person ratio of 1 to half a million people.
Most mental illnesses need professional help, but in the case of depression and anxiety, we can, to some extent, take the matter in our own hands and help our dear ones recover. There is no greater medicine then love. In the words of Dalai Lama, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Here are a few steps you can take on your own to understand and cure depression.
- Educate yourself:
Learn about the symptoms and signs of depression. Knowing the condition, would provide a better base to understand and influence the patient.
- Be a listener not a speaker:
Understand that sometimes people need a good ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. It is necessary for them to let out, what is pent up inside them and not to get advice all the time. This can be an enormous help to a depressed person. However you will have to be patient. Depression often causes a person to be withdrawn and so they won’t easily speak up.
- Create a positive and supportive environment:
This can be a huge help to the person suffering. Providing such an environment makes the patient realize that there is much more in this world to look forward to and people to be with.
- Stage a distraction:
A vacation, a weekend of camping or a night out can be very helpful. Breaking the daily routine and having a change of scenery provides a good distraction for the patient. Getting them involved in something new is the main idea.
- Seek help:
Sometimes no matter how much effort you put in, you need more help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to go seek help of a medical expert or a counselor and ensure the sessions are carried out regularly. The taboo of psychiatrists in Pakistan has to finish and we need to realize that not every person is “crazy” if they visit the psychiatrist!
- Understand that everyone is different:
What worked on your niece’s son, won’t necessarily be the cure to your loved ones depression. Each and every human is unique and thus the cure of depression in each and every one of us is different.
- Be patient and be there:
One of the best things you can do is be patient and let the depressed loved one know that you are there no matter what. In some cases the patients prefer isolation and demand to be left alone. However, do not leave them alone. Let them know that you are here to help and no matter what, you support them 100%. It is a frustrating task, but remember, your loved one needs you more than ever right now.
The writer is a student and currently doing Bachelors from IOBM with majors in Marketing.