- WHO has estimated that depression is the most prevalent mental condition among people aged 60 or above.
- A 66-year-old depression patient has shared her story of opening up about her mental condition in public.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects approximately 7% of people aged 60 or above around the world. But older adults tend to prevent themselves from speaking up about their psychological conditions due to many social stigmas in Indian society.
Mrs. Rewati Sahani, a 66-year-old lady, shared her story of becoming courageous enough to open up about her depression in public. While talking to MindHelp, she mentioned that she started earning to support her family after her husband passed away in a major car accident. She raised her daughter as a single mother. “My daughter was my only strength…my world used to revolve around her,” said Rewati.
When her daughter got married and left her home, she experienced extreme loneliness which later turned into major depression. “I was diagnosed with major depression. The severity of my symptoms was increasing day by day. Unfortunately, my daughter stopped contacting me after knowing my mental condition,” Rewati shared with MindHelp.
She stopped working after she was diagnosed with chronic depression. She said that she feared a lot to open up about her depression in public. She was afraid of the thought of being judged by society. “Over time, as I’ve got older I’ve been less ashamed about my mental health condition,” Rewati said. After suffering from depression, Rewati wants to help people who are currently experiencing similar psychological conditions. She wants people to support every psychological patient.
Mr. Amit Malik, the founder of Inner Hour (a mental health platform in India), shared his views about the tendency among elderly people to be secretive about their mental health conditions. He explained that older adults are vulnerable to a range of losses, including loss of self-sufficiency that inclines them to depression.
According to Malik, depression is often mistaken for sadness and easily brushed off as a natural symptom of aging. “So there are very high rates of unidentified and unresolved depression in this demographic,” he added further.
According to the Mental Health Foundation experts, talking can be an effective way to overcome psychological issues someone has been carrying for a long time. The feeling of being supported and less alone helps one to improve their mental well-being.
P.s – Name of the sufferer changed due to privacy concerns