- 73% of respondents feel it is healthy and normal to seek regular counseling
- Over 66% of respondents have approached a counsellor for depression
- 40% of respondents were from Tier 2 and 3 cities of India
YourDOST.com, an online counselling and emotional support platform conducted a nationwide online survey to understand the mental health scenario in India. As per the survey, the stigma attached to seeking psychological counseling seems to be a thing of the past as the attitude among the Indian youth towards mental health is changing. 73% of the respondents were of the opinion that it is healthy and normal to seek regular counselling and 54% had no issues in sharing their concerns with a stranger.
Results from the survey of 1000 respondents conducted in February 2017, depression emerged as one of the leading concerns in the survey, with over 66% of the respondents seeking counsel to cope with it. Self-Improvement, relationship management and career followed depression, as key issues that the urban Indian youth is tackling with. Relationship management concerns went beyond the opposite sex and extended to family relations.
Majority of the participants were of the age group 18 -25 years, wherein 40% were from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, and 40% from small towns such as Bathinda, Palakkad, Shillong and Gwalior.
“We’re all humans, and to be human is to be vulnerable. We all have our highs and lows; it is important to accept our emotions as they are. Just like when we have a cold, or fever, we go to doctor, similarly if something is troubling you enough to disrupt your life, it is good to talk it out and seek support whenever required. Depression worsens if you don’t take support and festers if you suffer in silence. Be kind to people suffering from Depression, try and help if you can. It can happen to anyone, and heals faster if they have a support system,” said Richa Singh, CEO and Co-Founder of YourDOST.com
As per the World Health Organization report, 5 crore Indians suffer from depression, i.e. 4.5% of the total population. This alarming state of the country’s mental health needs to be addressed. On March 26th the honorablePrime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Mann Ki Baat radio address, “Suppression of depression is not good. Expression is always good. If depressed, share your feelings with others, it will make you feel better.”
“The more hush-hush we are about depression which is an insidious disorder, the more we fall into its pits. Indian youth is slowly moving into isolation, with more and more people living separately or alone for work, studies, etc. This makes it more difficult to spot the changes in personality that this disorder brings about. Studies indicate that compared to women with lesser demanding work, women with long working hours and strict deadlines are 75% more at risk of developing depression and/or general anxiety disorder. The pressure to maintain a rich lifestyle, with growing number of failed marriages and relationships are putting more men at a risk of developing this disorder. Only when we feel comfortable in talking about Depression can we proactively combat it. The more we acknowledge the existence of this disorder, the sooner we can look forward to an emotionally wealthy society”, saidAishwarya Sathyanarayanan, Research Scientist at YourDOST.com
With the increase in internet penetration, online counselling platforms offer accessibility and anonymity for millions of people to discuss and share their concerns without a sense of shame or stigma. The anonymity and easy access of Internet are key drivers in influencing people to open up even in rural India. The survey further stated that 92% of the respondents were willing to talk to an online counselor.
Bangalore-based YourDOST.com is an online counselling and emotional wellness platform designed to foster mental health. It anonymously connects users with the right expert consisting of psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches, career guides and people with rich and deep life experience, who understand and guide them through completely confidential individual sessions (through free online chats). With more than 800 experts, the platform services ~1800 one to one interactions on a daily basis. Since its inception in December 2014, more than 1 million users have sought guidance so far.