Depression is a very touching topic and especially within our Tamil community it is quite a taboo.
My 4th year audit was on the identification and management of depression in type 2 diabetic patients at a local GP practice. I decided to do my project on this topic because evidence suggests that patients with a chronic health condition such a Diabetes are at an increased risk of developing depression. Therefore as part of National guidelines’ diabetes management plan, patients should be regularly screened for depression. I was hence able to explore the management of physical and mental illness side by side, which I surprisingly have never before had the opportunity to do.
I loved doing my audit and the results were shocking. However, I am not here to discuss my results and provide you with a summary of my study. I wanted to use this space to raise awareness for depression within our society, and in particular within my Tamil community.
Depression is real
I can be certain that when one of us goes to our parents, aunts or uncles saying that we may be depressed, they are likely to dismiss it completely by saying something along the lines of ‘Oh no, don’t be silly, it is all in your head’, ‘You can do this’, ‘Don’t come up with silly excuses’, etc.
There are so many unspoken truths in my community – depression, and other mental health problems, are some of them. All I can say is that depression is real and I have seen it amongst my patients, my family and friends, and myself.
The moment you see someone dear to you constantly having a low mood, reduced self-esteem, is isolating themselves from the world, has changed patterns of eating or changed sleeping patterns; do not be the one to neglect them and their emotions. Talk to them or try and ask for help. Do not push them away, and most importantly do not make them feel as if the depression they are suffering is not important enough or real enough.
Depression is one of many mental health conditions, which are all equally as important and as serious as physical health conditions.
There have already been many attempts to raise awareness about depression in our community, so let us all come together to do the same. Let us turn the taboo into a spoken truth.