(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.