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In India, people cope with psychological challenges, including depression, primarily through family ties, and, spiritual attitude to life.

Extended families provide a strong support system to Indians in facing all kind of problems, including depression, illness, financial crises. Ingrained spiritual attitude of an average Indian, including belief in destiny and karma, provides tremendous solace. However, these support systems and attitude are now diminishing due to urbanization and westernisation. Resurgence of yoga, pranayama, and, meditation has to an extent revived faith in spiritual approach to life,

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  • Jan 1 2014: I agree, dilip, spiritual practice and extended support systems are extraordinarily important tools in finding your way out of depression and of keeping it at bay. Sadly, such tools are not available to many (especially in the Western world), and the ongoing stigma attached to depression makes it difficult to ask for help among friends and family - and is certainly not to be acknowledged at work (I have encountered workplace harassment after I told my work colleague that I was on medication for depression - the immediate reaction was that I was not to be trusted as an employee because I was taking "mind-altering drugs").

    Talks like this one by Andrew Solomon are most important for shining a light on this (often killer) disease - and it is only be speaking up that we can start working to remove the stigma and make it easier for anyone suffering it to reach out for help
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    Jan 18 2014: I agree that religious practices are a way to cope with psychological issues. I find that attending a Roman Catholic mass with its repetitive rituals has makes mind more peaceful. "Praying the rosary" is similar to the practice of saying mantras and meditation. These practices help to free the mind of worries and fears, feel "loved". Church communities also focus on supporting each other, physically and emotionally.

    I agree that modern culture is not conducive to these practices. Also, these "mind techniques" need to be practiced carefully because self-suggestion can easily go wrong without proper checks and balances, like a chain reaction.
  • Jan 1 2014: Yes very true. But i feel that on many occasions religious institution exploit the emotions of the common man.
    • Jan 20 2014: So what tools are available to recover without being manipulated?
      • Jan 27 2014: I think awareness among people for the early signs of depression and the family support with some kind of moral responsibility of religious institutions to limit the exploitation of depressed people can work.
        • Jan 27 2014: Thats like saying to avoid being manipulated be with people who won't do it, silly advice. Some real advice if there is any, please.
  • Jan 27 2014: In India i saw that recognition of the fact that a person is going towards mental depression stage happens very late as there is less awareness among people surrounding that person. In many cases early intervention and right medication combined with traditionally tied family support can help.

    Generally people do not recognize the mental depression as a treatable disease, instead the symptoms has been regarded as the unusual habit of that person. so as per my view awareness among people about the symptoms of disease and recognition of the fact that it is treatable is important.
  • Jan 20 2014: I totally agree that religious practice and community support does offer solace. In the Islamic mystical tradition, depression or an emotional breakdown is often viewed as spirit knocking the door of conciousness, asking for entry. Spiritual awakening usually follows an emotional breakdown. Can we look at such times as opportunities for soul growth.
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    Jan 11 2014: Totally agree with you Dilip.
    The western world has lost track of the spiritual reality.
    This made me think of the story where a 10year old is asked What makes the milk we drink? And the kid mentions the local food store that sells it.

    Here we've lost track of what it means, and what it takes, to be human. It is not our body, animals are made of the same earthly material. It is the spirit!

    Without family we loose a lot. In a recent article in Macleans.ca it even shows how marriage makes us so much healthier too. It is not limited to that piece of paper. But it seems on the decline.

    Wishing you all the best!