The Student Wing of the Manipal Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics unveiled its first “Student Talks” session for the year with the World Health Day 2017 theme – ‘Depression – Let’s Talk’. Depression is fairly rampant in the student community in recent times. Despite being a frequently used word nowadays, we fail to realize that not unlike cancer, a major part of the population is rapidly plunging deeper into the deadly abyss of depression with every passing day. The importance of recognizing depression, destigmatizing it, getting suitable counsel and treatment for the depressed and various other aspects of depression was discussed during the course of the session.
The occasion was graced by Dr. RK Bhandary, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, KMC, Manipal, Dr. Mary Mathew, Head of the Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Dr. Vikram Palimar, Secretary of the same. The session commenced with a presentation, titled ‘Depression – The Silenced Disorder’ by Shraddha Pande and Priyanka Kapur, 6th-semester MBBS students, KMC Manipal. The talk was an eye-opener regarding the current prevalence of depression among the masses. Shraddha pointed out that India had recorded the highest prevalence of major depression in the world as per the last census while Priyanka observed that about 30-60% of university students suffer from depression. Both the speakers drew attention to the fact that stigmatizing depression has led to low self-esteem and decreased quality of life. Additionally, there has been a delay in seeking necessary health care for those suffering from this debilitating mental disorder.
Annapoorna Chakrabarty, a 4th-semester student gave the audience a new insight into the struggles of the depressed with her recital of “Explaining my Depression to my Mother: A conversation” by Sabrina Benaim. The poem aptly highlighted the emotional journey of a depressed student through a conversation with his mother.
Dr. Bhandary, the guest speaker for the session, pointed out the warning signs that can help recognize a depressed person. He emphasized on the need to come forward and vent out our travails much before depression grips us in its firm clutches.
Looking back at his own experiences, he commented that talking alone can provide a huge impetus for boosting the mental health of the depressed.
Dispelling the motley of myths related to depression, he implored the audience to create adequate awareness regarding depression and lend an ear to those in need.
The discussion was really fruitful and informative for one and all present. While some of the students found the talk quite informative, others found the session highly beneficial for their mental health and looked forward to more such forums in the future.
–Supratim Banerjee for MTTN
Editor’s note: This was the inaugural session of the Student Wing of The Manipal Unit of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. There will be workshops throughout the year on a regular basis, encompassing the ethical choices doctors have to make in their clinical practice. The organization will function through various student talks, panel discussions and guest lectures by imminent personalities.