A few days ago, the Ministry of Health released a digital poster outlining ways to cope with depression. The guidelines given ranged from sleeping 8 hours everyday, to taking multivitamins and practicing yoga. Within hours of the poster’s release, the Ministry began to face backlash from users on different social media platforms. The main issue that individuals found with the guidelines was that they were reducing depression to its very basic form. User after user emphasized that while the steps given were logically useful, they were precisely what depressed individuals found hard to do.

Why is there so much of an outrage? After all, eating well, exercising, travelling, practicing yoga, sleeping eight hours a day, and so on are proven ways to keep the mind and body healthy. Even those suffering from mental illnesses are encouraged to participate in these activities and form a routine. But as users pointed out, individuals suffering from depression find it hard to motivate themselves to carry out the most basic activities. When self-motivation is difficult, the social support of friends and family can go a long way to help depressed individuals. But, while this can go a long way to help the person suffering from depression, it is still not enough.

In order for an individual to recover from any mental illness, it is first important for the illness to be diagnosed correctly. This will allow for the administration of the right medication and therapy wherever needed. It is here that psychologists and psychiatrists play a key role. They bring with them years of training and professional experience that cannot be found anywhere and everywhere. The first step to cope with depression should be to seek help. This can then be supplemented with the guidelines that were circulated. Mental health professionals will be able to provide the correct guidelines that the individual should follow based on his/her condition. There is no one universal remedy that can be applied to all individuals suffering from the same disorder.

The person’s social status, familial background, medical history, as well as relationship status can affect how severe the disorder is. Since all of these factors will vary from one individual to the next, the treatment will also vary. Based on all of these factors, the psychologist or psychiatrist will be able to provide a routine that incorporates the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health in a more personal manner.  Once the right treatment is prescribed and the person suffering from depression is on the right track to recovery, he/she will be able to develop ways of coping with the disorder without external help. There is a certain flow that should be followed in order for disorder to be treated completely and to prevent it from recurring.

Ashvita has just completed her undergraduate degree from FLAME University, a Liberal Education school situated in Pune. Having pursued a major in psychology and a minor in advertising and branding over the course of the last four years, she hopes to implement her learning from both these areas of study into her work.