The people in Siolim, India, who are suffering from stress, depression and anxiety, are seldom properly treated. Doctors and nurses assigned in this far flung fishing and farming village focus more on physical ailments. Mostly, they prioritize children suffering from diarrhea, aging people with heart problems, and laborers with cut injuries. In the same way, locals fear to get diagnosed with related mental problems. They are afraid to experience disgrace from family and friends. It resulted to suffering in silence making their misery worse.
In 2007, two specialists visited the town. Their main purpose was to identify people with anxiety and stress. Surprisingly, the doctors found themselves preoccupied the whole day and for the whole week. Dr. Anil Umraskar, the person in charge, claimed that a great number of people made up a “sizeable crowd” at the clinic. More and more patients with high level stress, anxiety and depression keep appearing daily.
They concluded that most of the Indians with moderate to severe mental illness never go untreated. Research revealed that 80% to 90% of people suffering highest level of anxiety and stress do not get adequate treatment. It was then that Dr. Vikram Patel, psychiatrist of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, started the Siolim Project. As of today, the clinic has been the forefront to treat the emotional and mental condition of the people in the area. It has expressed its potential to transform the mental health problem in some countries in the developing world.
But instead of doctors, the program is training common people to identify symptoms of depression and treat individuals under stressed condition. With India’s population of more than one billion people it will take large sums of money to raise more psychiatrists to deal with depression problems. They have only 4,000 specialists in the whole country. Dr. Greg E. Simon, researcher in Centre for Health Studies in Seattle, commended Dr. Patel’s advocacy. He said “It’s a really interesting, exciting thing he’s doing.”
The workers claimed that stress and depression has been as common to that of the wealthy. Poor people in poor countries experience the same emotional turmoil and are no longer viewed anxiety as Western affliction.
Most of these poor patients express a wide variety of causes. 29 year old Medha Upadhye, one of the councilors said, “Financial difficulties and interpersonal conflicts are there. But Unemployment and Alcoholism are some of the major problems.”
Individuals, who are identified suffering the problem, increase at least 20% in a given year. Experts say that even the remotest and poorest place, severe stress has become a disabling disease similar to malaria. It is theoretically affecting the economic condition of the society. If a farmer is suffering from consistent and constant depression or stress, he cannot get out of bed to work. Most likely, his family will not have food on the table.
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