A post describing "depression as a state of low mood" on the official twitter handle of the health ministry accompanied by a digital poster listing out activities to cope with it was slammed by Twitter users for "trivialising" the issue as some users termed the definition as "highly inaccurate".
A tweet posted on June 26 by the @MoHFW_INDIA, the official twitter handle of ministry of health and family welfare, read, “Depression is a state of low mood that affects a person's thought, behaviour, feeling & sense of well-being. One must take up activities that keep him or her boosted in order to cope with depression (sic).”
It also posted a poster listing out activities such as following a routine like eating fruits, staying clean, going for walks, practising yoga, taking multi-vitamins, travelling and thinking positive.
However, the post invited a lot of flak from the followers with a psychiatrist tweeting, "This tweet trivializes depression and makes it feel like it isn't an illness... (sic)."
A user named Aishwarya S said, "This is a highly inaccurate description of depression. #LetsTalk (sic)."
The users slammed the tweet for failing to mention that one should seek therapy or clinical help for treating depression.
"People with depression cant think positive. That's the definition of depression. Telling them to do so, is like telling a person with cataract to open his eyes and see clearly. Seeking help in depression, which is life saving, is not a part of this, why? (sic)."
Another user Sudhir Kothari said, "Depression is a real illness, treatable and may sometimes lead to suicide if not treated. It's not a character flaw or something you can just ask the patient to snap out of or make her or him guilty of suffering from."
Some even urged the ministry to delete the post "for the sake of general public interest." Nobody from the Health Ministry was available for a comment.
The WHO defines depression as a common mental disorder, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.
It says that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18 per cent between 2005 and 2015.”
In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Depression is treatable, with talking therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of these.
In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 reveals that nearly 15 per cent Indian adults need active intervention for one or more mental health issues and one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. It is estimated that in 2012, India had over 258,000 suicides, with the age-group of 15-49 years being most affected.