Depressed Valley

Reality of depression beyond statistics



That a large segment of population in Valley suffer from depression is
stating the obvious. Besides, by now the settled nature of this
reality has made us look at it as a fact of life, something that we
have not only learnt to live with but also be forgetful about. But it
is only when one comes across the individual cases of severe
depression across the length and breadth of Valley that the massive
scale of the tragedy shocks you.
Haleema of village Muqam in Baramulla district wants to kill herself
by any means. She cries a lot. Her husband Muhammad Yaseen Khan is
missing since 2006 and her 20 year old son Shameen Ahmad Khan was
killed gunmen in 2002. She now lives with her two daughters and a son.
She is on a regular medicine to reduce the level of depression. But
there has been little redeeming difference. Instead her daughter
Jameela has also fallen victim to depression.
Similarly, Shameema of Kawhar village, also in Baramulla district,
suffers  from sleep disturbance, hopelessness and suicidal tendencies.
Her husband Nazir Ahmad Rather was killed by unidentified gunmen in
2000 following which she perforce had to marry her brother-in-law. She
says she is not happy with her new life.
There are thousands of such cases across the Valley. In the course of
my work in Baramulla district, I came across a large number of cases
where a family tragedy, most of them the outcome of the ongoing
political conflict, have left families reeling in trauma and
depression. Often, the effect of the depression has been compounded by
the abject poverty.
Ghulam Hassan Mir of village Kalantra was an able-bodied, hard-working
man. But he fell into severe depression after his son Ashiq Ahmad Mir
was arrested by the police two and a half years before. The son is
still in jail. Mir sits at one place and hardly ever goes out of his
house. He is also on a regular psychiatric medicine. While Mir is on
the rebound, his wife and daughter have also started feeling depressed
requiring urgent medical attention.
Almost any village you visit has cases of depression, and most of them
lack proper medical and psychiatric attention. This in turn has ruined
many a family. As Dr Mushtaq Margoob has pointed out in his studies,
about 19 per cent Kashmiris suffer from depression. This, in turn, has
bred suicidal tendencies, with an increase of 26 fold in suicide
rates, according to the psychiatrist Dr Arshad Hussain.
What has compounded the problem is that most of the families with
depressed members are too poor to take care of them. It is often some
non-governmental organizations which step in to provide some medical
and psychiatric relief. Though the help goes some way to ameliorate
their lot, it doesn’t often prove enough. There is an urgent need for
some form of community support. And of course, government also needs
to step in. It is a humanitarian crisis. These families, if no
sustained help is offered to them, stare at a bleak future.
(Jabeen Wani is a student of department of psychology, Kashmir University)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST

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