Doctors: Dr. Soumitra Pathare- psychiatrist Ruby Hall Pune, mental illness, mental disorder- common myths, treatment for depression, how to deal with depression, depressed child, causes of depression, depression amongst childrenn, stigma attached to visiting psychiatrist, message for parents, psychiatrists Pune, Pune hospitals">
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Depression is like any other illness


Dr Soumitra Pathare is a consultant psychiatrist in Ruby Hall, Pune. He has been in this profession for the last 15 years. After staying in the UK for eight years, he decided to come back home.
“I didn’t come back because I was moved by the plight of people. There is no system here, nothing works right but India is vibrant and alive, it is like the Wild West and I enjoy it here,” he says.
Thought-provoking and upfront, here are some of the insights that we got after talking to him about the rising depression cases in India and myths associated with mental illness:
Common myths associated with mental illness and treatment
  • I can deal with it myself
  • Going to a psychiatrist means I’m weak and incapable of handling my problems
  • The society will look down upon me
  • I will not be taken seriously by my colleagues and friends if they know that I’m being treated by a psychiatrist
  • It’s just a temporary illness and I can handle it without any outside help
Depression is multifaceted and is a combination of both internal and external factors

Depression can be triggered by both internal and external factors like genetic or chemical changes in the body, upbringing of a person, any unpleasant experience or an external event.
Take a cup with a hairline crack. The crack is invisible but a slight force can break the cup into pieces. Similarly any event which crosses the imaginary threshold in a person’s comfort zone is enough to cause depression.

Depression amongst children: Parenting is the main issue

In most of the cases that I have treated, the problem is with the parents and not the children. Parents push their children to achieve things which probably they could not achieve. It is a vicarious living of the dream; Since we couldn’t do it, so you do it.
Also a family is like an ecosystem. Any disturbance in the ecosystem is likely to affect the child first as he is the most vulnerable in the family.
Parents should...
  • Allow the children to live their own dreams
  • Teach them life skills and the ability to cope with stress
  • Build a relationship where the child receives emotional support
  • Talk openly about the child’s problems and issues. Don’t run away from them
  • Try to be your child’s friend and not a disciplinarian always
  • Make it a point to talk to your children for a few minutes everyday
  • Don’t forget to hug and express your emotions and feelings to them
  • If you think your child is depressed , visit a psychiatrist or counsellor

There is a stigma attached to visiting a psychiatrist...

The stigma is both real and imaginary. The real stigma is due to the law of our country which discriminates against a person who is mentally ill.
  • The marriage law prohibits a mentally ill person to marry
  • The Indian contract act says that you are incompetent to enter into a contract if you are mentally ill
  • You could be stripped off your voting rights if it is proved that you have some mental illness
    With these legal provisions, who would visit a psychiatrist for there is the fear of being labelled mentally ill and losing one’s rights.
    Even the society looks down upon a person with mental illness. You could be taken less seriously by your colleagues if they come to know that you are visiting a psychiatrist
My message to people...

Mental illness is like any other illness. Treat a person with mental illness as an equal and as person deserving love and support. It’s time we stopped talking about charity.