43 percent of Indians suffer from depression, says study

The stress rates are at all times higher due to the lockdown sequence, fear, work losses, health issues, and the overall stressful climate.

43 percent of Indians suffering from depression

Since the pandemic of coronavirus struck India for more than five months, followed by a previous lockdown, the level of stress has risen, with a further study showing 43 percent of Indians suffering from depression.

The mental wellbeing of people has had a huge effect over the past five months. Stress rates are still at elevated levels due to the lockout, uncertainty, work losses, safety worries and the overall tense situation.

GOQii, a forum for preventive healthcare through intelligent technology, surveyed over 10,000 Indians for their understanding of how the modern standard is being treated. The study found that 26 % of respondents had mild depression, 11% had moderate depression, and six% were exposed to severe depression symptoms.

“Copious amounts of stress can lead to depression. With the current lockdown and lifestyle drastically changing, we have seen that 43 per cent of Indians are currently plagued with depression and are learning to cope with it,” the study said.

To monitor the severity of depression in the respondents, the study relied on self-administered Patient Health Questionnaire or PHQ-9 (a form of primary care evaluation of mental disorders). It took into account nine aspects of an individual’s daily routine, including interest levels in activities, appetite, sleep cycles, ability to concentrate, and energy levels.

Vishal Gondal, founder, and CEO, GOQii said, “Our study indicates that an increasing number of people across the country are dealing with mental health issues triggered by the spread of the Coronavirus and the consequent lockdown. The mounting uncertainty is the basis of the high-stress index which can be controlled with a balanced diet, changes in lifestyle, and appropriate sleep patterns. We at GOQii believe that preventive healthcare is the future and the only viable, long-term solution given the huge load on the healthcare system in India. Mental health has a huge impact on physical health and overall quality of life, hence, addressing it sooner with a healthy and wholesome lifestyle is the only way ahead.”

Many who were depressed responded that there was little motivation or joy in doing things, that they felt helpless, faced with erratic sleep cycles, poor eating habits, low energy levels, low self-respect, difficulty in focusing, restlessness, and self-harm thinking.

“More than 59 percent of the population said it is a bit of a pleasure to do stuff these days; 38 percent of the population feel like that on a couple of days, and 9 percent feel like that on more than half a day.

According to the self-administered, patient health questionnaire PHQ – 9, consisting of nine areas, monitors the severity of depression and response in a population

  • Little interest in doing things
  • Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or having little energy
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Feeling bad about yourself; that you are a failure; letting people down           
  • Trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television
  • Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed. Or the opposite, being fidgety or restless more than usual               
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself in some way 

On the other hand, the respondents did not have such a helpless feeling. Just 10 % of the respondents said they feel more than half a day or almost every day “down and discouraged.”

The study suggested that adding exercise to one’s daily routine could help improve their mental health. “Exercising can lead to endorphins (the happy hormone) which can help with depression. The more depressed you are, the more likely you are to not workout. “But, it is important to cajole yourself into doing more things that make you feel happier,” it suggested.

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