If money is Mumbai's Big Daddy, depression is rapidly getting to be Big Mommy. According to a ten-year-old study, mapping depression on Mumbai's campuses, four out of every ten students suffer from some form of depression and 14 out 100 have actually thought of suicide.
It looks as if these figures are coming home to roost, with kids, some as young as nine, killing themselves. The causes are variously attributed to genetics, bio-chemical or environmentally induced, while treatments range from acupuncture, through music to drugs and therapy.
Whatever the direct cause that is making people take this extreme step in cities and in villages and across all age groups, one thing is clear. We have created a killer society that spells success in very limited ways and seeks to punish those seen as unsuccessful. By the yardstick of material achievements and monetary gain, that would be 90 per cent of us.
And our children, subjected to tremendous pressure usually by parents, are the biggest sufferers of all.
Paradoxically, as cases go up, so do the number of counseling centres and helplines. And while there is a shortage of psychiatrists, the numbers of counselors is up. Thankfully too, people are now becoming aware of depression as a sickness that one does not necessarily bring upon oneself and that is can be treated.