ibnlive » Health

Sep 12, 2008 at 03:51pm IST

Is depression taking a toll on kids

New Delhi: One in every 15 Indians is believed to be depressed. Even children as young as 10, 11 are become part of this disturbing statistic.

Melchi is just 15 years old and you will never be able to tell that behind his carefree smile and naughty eyes are two years of despair and loneliness.

He is an undiagnosed dyslexic who is struggling to make sense of alphabets and words that would evade him.

Underperformance at school and misunderstood at home robbed Melchi of the happiest years of his life.

Melchi says, “I was getting frustrated. In every period the teachers used to scold me, they used to call my parents. I was depressed.”

The early signs were ignored as mere excuses to get out of homework and bad performance.

Melchi's mother Mallika thought punishment and tough talk would change her son's attitude towards studies, but the school was already giving up on him.

Mallika even took Melchi to a psychiatrist.

Melchi's psychometric evaluation made some startling revelations. He was showing signs of stress and depression. He was unable to deal with the academic and parental pressures.

Melchi is part of a rising statistic. One that reveals that one in five children in India have some sort of mental, behavioral, or emotional problem and one in eight adolescents may suffer from depression.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages 15 and 24.

Infact,10 per cent of young depressives commit suicide, while 70 per cent may have attempted it .

Right from early childhood, children are under constant pressures to perform, these pressures lead to anxiety and stress that can cause depression.

“When I got to know what he had been going through I hugged him and said sorry for all the harsh words I had said to him,” laments Mallika.

Understanding Melchi's condition has brought a change in Malika's perception and that has helped Melchi grow out of his depression.

A more conducive school, new friends and constant encouragement has helped Melchi to bring about newer talents in him.

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