Opinion

Depression on the rise: An urgent call to remedy the spread of the mental plague

Statistics show that over 800,000 people die of suicide each year making it the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year olds. Astonishingly, the bulk of the number of people suffering from depression is the younger millennials.

The conveniences associated with the 21st-century generation have made for ease in life affairs. The digital age has created a world of fewer struggles and more time to focus on that which is of utmost importance. This however has not contributed to the rising state of depression all over the world.

Depression on the riseNo age grade is exempted, the young and the old continue to suffer from this mental plague and there is yet to be a remarkable solution in this area.

It has been observed that depression is the primary factor that eventually leads to suicide, suicide is only a secondary cause.

Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a study of two groups of millennials in the country. One group consists of people born between 1991 and 1992 while the second group includes people born between 2000 and 2002.

The research revealed that overall symptoms of both depression and self-harm had increased by age 14 in the younger cohort in comparison to the older one. From 2005 to 2015, symptoms of depression rose from 9 percent to nearly 15 percent while self-harm rose from over 12 percent to more than 14 percent. Blue Cross Blue Shield also released a report in 2018 showing that diagnosis of major depression had climbed to 47 percent for millennials.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 264 million people affected. It has also become the notable cause of ill health and disability around the globe.

Depression is often overlooked and neglected thereby leaving the victims to such an impoverished mental state till it leads to suicidal thoughts. WHO revealed that an average of merely 3 percent of government health budgets is expended on mental health with less than 1 percent in poor countries.

There is an accumulating fact that depression is in part an illness with a biological basis. Health experts have revealed that it is more common in individuals who have close relatives suffering from depression. Victims of suicidal thoughts carry with them unhappy and hurtful emotions with a preconceived notion that death is the solution to their unending calamities ‘losing sight of the fact that suicide is a permanent “solution” to a temporary state’, a writer stated.

Depression is not a recent ailment, it is however unknown the beginning of its prevalence in human history. Experts disclosed that urban dwellers in developed countries possess a greater possibility of psychiatric disorders, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, in contrast to rural counterparts. The evidence indicates that the considerable majority of depression and risk is associated with general aspects of modernization.

Social media has been proven a likely factor in the rise of depressive symptoms, based on experts interview. Jessica Singh, a mental health therapist stated that ‘millennials can’t help but compare their situations and achievements to everyone else’s, which can leave them feeling insecure and unaccomplished’. The resultant effect is the pressure to constantly look and act like all is well. The therapist stated that this can lead to lowered self-esteem, anxiety, or depression.

Kathryn Moore, Ph.D., a psychologist explained that social media interactions are less real, substantive, and protective than the ones in real life. ‘I see many young adults who say they are social, but their social interactions consist of talking with people online while playing a video game for hours.’ She added that ‘these types of social interactions aren’t allowing for true sharing, connectedness, or feeling known.’

The social environment is toxic and known for increasing competition, inequality, and social isolation which contributes to depression. Separately, these behaviors in the contemporary environment are attributed to the diseases of modernity and can lead to depression.

Various experts likewise identified debt and the economy as probable risk factors in millennial depression rates. There has been a rise in student loan debt, job insecurity, the rent economy among others.

The primary way to treat depression is by changing thought patterns. There is the need to fight negative thoughts. Feelings can sometimes be wrong and inaccurate. We often assume the feelings of others towards us which could be true or not.

There is however a need to validate oneself and not constantly compare the lives of others to ours. No suffering or pain is singular to an individual. The feeling that just ‘I’ is going through the situation has been one of the causes of depression.

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Why me? Am I the only one in this world? and so many personal questions attributed to just ‘me’. Developing confidence outside the opinion of others is a requisite to trusting oneself. Less indulgence of negative thoughts will eventually transform the previously sinking mind. Most people who attempted suicide as a result of depression but live later say they are glad they didn’t die.

Also, the government should set aside a budget to help assist people who go through this challenge and have to suffer alone. It should be adopted as a matter of urgency. Awareness should be made in states and special centers that deal with such cases should be established. The plague must be stopped before it spreads and infects a larger part of the globe.

Peace Omenka

I'm a news reporter/ researcher. My major expertise is developing feature stories around trending issues.

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