Depression – no matter what the Oxford Dictionary says, for Indians it’s a state of shame, a state you can’t define and less of a disease more of a taboo. Much like sex, people fear talking about Depression in open.
Mental Health has never been on the menu card of the people in the country to check upon, never a department they would like to pass by even in a hospital. Let alone a hospital, majority of people fear talking about it to themselves in the mirror.
Sex is a lesser known subject in schools and homes and so is depression. A home, family, school or teachers- the only thing common in all of this is; the first 15 years of your life, the basic teachings and the guidelines to lead a life.
But sadly our system likes to keep these words behind shut doors, holding separate lectures in class 6th on puberty; separate for boys and girls. Parents will not like to hear you saying,’ I am not feeling too good mentally, can we visit a doctor.’ The will start crying themselves and increase the amount of anxiety and decrease your self confidence.
The gap between counsellors, psychiatrists and mental health patients is unimaginably huge! To fill this gap in Chandigarh young blood, fierce and as a voice for the rest of the city – these two women are breaking stereotypes.
“Kuch sawalat — Dur tarak kuch dikhne laga hai, kya aankhon mein siraab jhalakne laga hai, kissi ki tabiyat nakhush hone lagi hai, kya zindagi ka sabak usse milne laga hai, ab kisse karenge haale-e-dil bayan? Kyun sab par aitbaar mitne laga hai? Aur kya woh jo saath khade thhe kabhi, kya wajood unka girne laga hai?…”
These verses recited by Soumya Joshi were among many that had the participants thinking about mental health at a talk organised by a novel support group “Rangmanch” recently.
‘Rangmanch’, You are allowed to scream, cry but not give up! ‘Rangmanch by Viroka is a platform for the one’s lesser known. These silent actors live around us, or sometimes, even within. Rangmanch here is an open mic stage for each person who is a sufferer, each person who is a survivor, each person who is potent of depression, stress, anxiety, anger issues and everything else.’
The brain behind ‘Rangmanch,’ Kruti Pahuja decided to arrange for a space where anyone could talk freely about stress, anxiety, and depression.
‘I think it is about time we come out and speak about both of these before either becomes a taboo bigger than it already is. Before thoughts about either of them wither the minds to nothingness,’ she said.
Building dialogue in public spaces and cafes, Pahuja at the meet-ups exhorts participants to recite poems, read out from their personal diaries, experiences and offer something as simple as a hug to someone.
‘You choose to speak, we choose to listen. Express what you think, what you feel and in whichever way you wish- recite, enact, paint, express- we welcome you with open arms.’
The event was held in collaboration with #SocialSpeakEasy campaign at a cafe in Sector 7. The campaign aims to initiate a discourse around topics considered stigma or taboo in society.
One of every four children suffers from depression before reaching 15, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. Yet, less than 10% consult a doctor, as per the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16. The gap is seeping into the society effortlessly, with the amount of technology, isolation and occupancy that adults, children or old age people are going through.
Depression and Sex have been two words, more found on the Google search and less in conversations. It’s time we, the youth take up the responsibility of bringing a change, if not reforming our surroundings.
-Written and Edited by Nimrat Kaur for PTC News