Stress Induced Depression – An Illness of Epidemic Proportion

Vijay Sampath

Author: Vijay Sampath

Date: Wed, 2017-04-12 16:46


  • The VUCA world is wreaking havoc on mental health
  • Change induced stress is appearing frequently
  • Depression is a major illness caused by change induced stress
  • Learning to cope with change will help people beat stress and depression

An epidemic of depression in the VUCA world?

During a recent visit to my dentist, I was waiting for my anesthetic to take effect and overheard her counseling a young man about his headaches.

She explained to me later that he was suffering from depression, was taking multiple anti-depressants, and essentially imagining his headaches were caused by physical issues.

This incident triggered some thoughts that had been bothering me for a while. I am increasingly coming across signs of depression, even among materially successful individuals.  One very successful business owner recently confessed to having been treated for depression, caused by work setbacks. I have recently met several friends or former colleagues whose traumatic career experiences have set off acute depression that seems to have permanently disabled their functioning.

Grappling with work, family and social pressure is taking a heavy toll on one’s mental well-being. Sudden transfers, job loss, new technology or process, change of leadership, M&A situations, economic meltdown, commuting pressure, social pressure, pollution, the uncertain futures for our children….the list goes on. 

The narcissistic parade of trivial successes and lux lifestyles on social media posts and pressure to perform in social media is adding to performance anxiety and loss of self-esteem.

At a global level, people have to cope with unexpected and unprecedented change, as nations and societies reinvent themselves. From the fallout of Brexit, the divisive US elections, the horrifying march of terrorism, the disappearance of balanced politics, to the growth of muscular nationalism and for us in India, the shock of demonetisation. The shrill and negative news of daily turbulence in our economic and social world, has everyone permanently rattled and on edge.

What connects all this is that change has become overwhelming and relentless, and the recovery time between change shocks is diminishing. In earlier times, as recent as the early 90’s, livelihoods were predictable and socioeconomic change infrequent and less disruptive. Today’s fast moving world, well defined by the term VUCA - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous, is like a machine gun spitting out change bullets.

Learning about change to beat Depression

The critical thing I notice in personal interactions and on social media is that people are unaware, unprepared and untutored in understanding how to cope with change.

Maybe, if we knew what to expect in the change process, we would be unafraid to express ourselves naturally, and come out of the change situation faster and healthier. Wouldn’t this ensure our performance levels are sustained?

The best model I have come across, and one that some have probably been exposed to, is the Kubler-Ross model of coping with change. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross propounded this model in 1969, in her book, On Death and Dying. Her study focussed on the emotions of terminally ill patients at the University of Chicago’s medical school.

There cannot be a bigger change stress than that of impending death. The ability of the subject to cope with this ultimate and irrevocable change is beyond doubt “the” benchmark of human emotion. Not surprisingly, this study has been extrapolated by behavioral scientists and applied to many life and work situations.

Kubler-Ross’ model describes five stages of coping or adjustment, popularly expressed in a sine curve. These five stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. These are presented in the diagram below. (I have presented them in beige color and have taken the liberty of adding in blue, a few intermediate emotions that I observed in adapted studies)

Her model begins when a sudden change causes a sense of "Denial" in the subject. This is characterised by a refusal to accept the fact that the change has occurred and the denial of the consequences. From this point it’s a short step to "Anger", where the subject vents her negative emotions on some presumed causal factor or scapegoat. Often the anger is filled with self-pity: “Why me”? Anger is manifested both silently and vocally.

The subject then starts "Bargaining" with the situation- “Give me one chance to redeem myself”, “If I lived a few months longer I could settle my affairs in peace”. The bargaining is futile as the change event is irrevocable and only creates a sense of false optimism.

The reality and permanence of change sinks in finally and leads to depression. The mind becomes unbearably sad and hopeless. At work, the symptoms include lack of motivation or enthusiasm, low energy levels and distracted participation. In personal life, the symptoms include a withdrawal from social life and disinterest in any aspect of family life.

 This is the tipping point. Here is where intervention and treatment (if necessary) have to kick in. Delay in recovery makes this a low that is then hard to climb out of. And when depression becomes clinical, it can have devastating consequences including suicidal tendencies.

Luckily, most of us climb out of this abyss of depression pretty soon. We start seeing the need to move on when we "accept" the new situation. The subject is still fragile and will be doubtful of the changed state. In the Acceptance phase, he will move gingerly, not knowing what lies ahead. At this point, people have to be treated with consideration, kindness and leniency for experimentation and mistakes. Otherwise, the slide back to depression is very likely and easy. Given the right mental conditioning and empowering conditions, the acceptance phase can rapidly lead to renewal and growth.

Though it is popular to explain this model in sequence, Kubler-Ross clarified that she didn’t intend for the five stages to be linear or comprehensive. Instead, she said, these were a set of "commonly observed behaviors" and all of these need not occur in a standard sequence.

While this theory remains untested by substantial research, it continues to provide a fascinating yet simple input to plan for change or while experiencing it.

Leaders of organisations or families will find the Kubler-Ross model helpful in preparing for impending change. I have found it to be useful in counselling people, who have been in career trauma situations, arguably the corporate equivalent of a terminal illness.

Some people never bounce back from negative situations because they get trapped in the quicksand of denial and depression. Their failure to rebound is a collective failure of society, in failing to address the grave mental health challenges in today’s fluid work and life. Given the rapidly mutating conditions of the modern world, it is imperative for leaders to address this condition and “teach” people to learn how to cope with change and its expected consequences.

So when we go to sleep today, let us wonder how prepared we are for tomorrow’s change.


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This is a very insightful and timely article. Depression is rapidly becoming a global health crisis, and very few people outside academia are aware of this extremely serious situation. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, depression is expected to be at the second place in the ranking of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY, a measure of global disease burden) by 2020. It already is the leading causes of disability as measured by Years Lived with Disability (YLDs). But what may get lost in the numbers is the human experience of this disease. I remember reading an interesting description of depression from a writer who was herself coping with the condition. She described depression as ‘not a presence of negative emotions, but an absence of any emotions.’ This description makes me see how depression can a debilitating affliction. I can imagine that the condition must get severely exacerbated if patients do not seek or have access to medical attention and societal support. An important reason patients do not seek medical attention is the stigma associated with mental health conditions. It is important that public health infrastructure and healthcare funding be deployed to initiate public conversations and improve understanding of these conditions. On your point about family support for mental health patients, I’ll mention an interesting NPR podcast I heard few months back. The podcast featured interviews with residents of the town of Geel in Belgium. This town has pioneered a de-institutionalised method of care for mental health patients. The townspeople of Geel host mental health patients at their homes. The patients are treated as family guests with some special needs. The podcast highlights several success stories of this simple but evidently very effective arrangement. The main point of the program is to move mental health patients away from their families. The emotional involvement of close family members evidently impedes the recovery of these patients. On the other hand, institutionalization is often traumatic and may even be counterproductive. The emotionally distant, but still gentle and considerate care from strangers apparently dramatically improves health outcomes.

Dear Sir, The article was very informative about how acceptance of change can be explained using the Kubler-Ross change model. In this digital age, it is a norm for people to keep appearances and perform well online (in social media) as well as offline (in offices, schools and colleges). There is an intense competition on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp to be the one who posts most updates. Tremendous amounts of peer pressure and competition for students and working professionals result in intense stress. Students are under high-pressure to perform in examinations and score well. Those students who cannot keep up, succumb to depression and in worst cases, commit suicides. In the recent past, there has been a growing trend of suicides by students. India has become one of the world’s highest rates for suicide rates for youth aged between 15 and 29. Similarly, working professionals also suffer from balancing both work and personal life. A lack of exercise and proper diet is leading to many lifestyle diseases. These further add to mental stress and anxiety and lead to depression. The major challenges in dealing with depression are the lack of awareness of depression and social stigma attached to accepting that one has depression. Most people do not even know they are depressed. As pointed out wonderfully in the article, this leads to denial and anger as per Kubler-Ross change model. Individuals, then accept they have no choice and seep into depression. Those who do seek help end up still suffering as there is a huge shortage about 87% of mental health care professionals in India. Lack of counselling centres in schools and colleges also do not help. We need to collectively work towards providing training and information seminars in schools, colleges and offices to tackle depression. There should be support systems and counselling sessions. Friends and family should provide unconditional support to the person undergoing depression. Beyond all this, the government should significantly increase the spending on mental health and create awareness about depression among the public.

I must say this is an insightful article and capable enough to generate a series of concern and thoughts about the threat of depression in this everchanging world. As rightly said, today’s world is VUCA world and each and every one is affected because of sudden changes. Author talked about the changes in corporate world and is taking a toll on personal front and pushing the person into state of depression which in some cases provoke suicidal tendencies. We can easily wider the horizon and see that not even working population but the old, kids and housewives are also equally susceptible to it. For example kids face similar dilemma when they see others with kids playing with new age gadgets, wearing branded clothes, and travelling to foreign destination for vacations. Similarly elderly people who are not able to adjust themselves with this changing world face challenge to maintain a relationships with their grandchildren and sometimes even with their children. The situation now has become critical and there is dire need to tackle the issue and help people understand that although it is good to stay in pace with the changes but is not the only thing which defines them. We have to help them understand that if they cannot accept the change it is perfectly okay to move on and the objective can be obtained by making them aware of the depression- its effects and causes- and providing adequate support, love and care.

Dear Sir, Thank you for shading some light on the very sensitive issue of depression. Today’s world is truly filled with uncertainty and individuals must deal with changes on a regular basis. Some changes are acceptable and can be dealt with but some are forced onto us and we are not prepared to deal with or sometimes even accept that the changes have occurred. I believe given the way our society functions accepting one is suffering from depression is the biggest challenge. Once the person accepts there is a situation he/she needs help one of biggest hurdle is passed. I think there is a dire need to spread awareness about how one can deal with stress and your article gives a good perspective you could provide more insights on how one can deal with changes that would be great.

Great Article Sir! I especially like the way you have described the number of people suffering from depression including those who are materially successful. In addition to this, I would also like to mention here that I loved the whole concept of “Beating Depression”. I think that I connected more when you mentioned about Kubler-Ross model of coping with change. I actually visualised and felt the 5 stages of coping – DABDA. It will be really unfair if I don’t appreciate the other 3 stages of emotions which you have added in the model. The flow of emotions, both felt and displayed, is beautifully narrated. You have beautifully captured the beginning of depression i.e. “Shock” i.e. any change for which we are not ready brings us a shock followed by denial and so on. As a result of any unexpected negative thing occurring in life brings different set of emotions and behaviour. There are many people in our society who are reluctant to accept that they were in depression. They think that people who are in depression are mentally ill and can never be fine and lead a normal life. In fact, due to this thinking, depressed people do not get help at the time when they need them the most and as a consequence, they end up doing things which are far more severe in nature when compared to the root reason of depression. Somehow, I can relate more with the article because of an incident in my life. After my father’s sudden death, I went into depression for almost 3 months. Although this phase wasn’t immediate to the incident but was after a year or so. The main reasons were the hard facts which I realised after his demise, the lessons for life which I learnt in a hard way. The gush of emotions such as denial, anger, false optimism, unbearable sadness, hopelessness led me to withdraw myself from social life. I led a life with almost no friends and mostly speaking to my mother for her anxiety removal. At the end of the day, I was full of emotions and with no clue of how to handle so many emotions and behavioural change. The situation changed and took a different way when I chose to speak openly with my husband (one of few friends in those days). I could cope up from this state and learn positive things only because of the continuous support of friends. I totally agree with what you wrote – if there is no acceptance, there is a greater chance to slide back to depression. I consider myself lucky enough to get supported and accepted. With this story, I would once again appreciate you for the noble thought of bringing this issue in front of common people and suggesting a way to handle the unexpected changes that occur in life. THANK YOU!!!!

Here come the winds of change, swift and strange, to pick your brain and sometimes to drive you insane. They say change is the only constant but seldom do they mention the price to be paid to maintain your significance with it and that’s what drives us crazy. We are in a sea of information and our visibility to what’s happening around is unlimited, thanks to social media and mobility. So the struggle truly boils down to what to absorb and what to leave, what’s significant and what’s not. And boy does it kick in your well suppressed insecurities! Now you are afraid that you will be redundant if you don’t change and at the same time you can’t cope with it. The adage- Too much of anything is bad – was never truer than it is today. Look around us. Actually, you don’t have to. Just take a look at that small hardware in your pocket- yes I am talking about your smart phone. It is a significant cause of our misery. The incessant desire to make your presence felt on social media is driving us insane. Suddenly you start comparing your life, achievements, and friends with others which causes serious stress and anxiety and can very well lead to depression. Apart from all this there are changes in politics, nations, cultures, work places, life styles, technology and the list goes on. Well, as the author mentioned that some of us are lucky who can shake of the dust of anxiety and stress induced by change but some of us are not that strong. So what do we do about them because we surely can’t stop the world from changing? We need to identify those souls who are suffering and be observant at our homes and workplaces. Because you never know if it is your kid or your friend or your colleague who needs a pat on the back and an assurance that things will be just fine.

Dear Sir, this article has been very insightful. Modern lifestyle, family and social pressure have affected one mental well-being. Due to tremendous pressure on performing well, there has been an exponential increase in the number of depression patients. Lately much more awareness has been started to deal with the depression treating it as a medical problem and helping to overcome it. Various new mode of dealing with such situations are being seen. The therapy dog is one such few initiatives, which I found very innovative. Sometimes people are no able to express their feeling to others, while they are comfortable expressing emotions in front of dogs, hugging them patting them is kind of stress-busting activity. Mumbai airport implemented this for the travellers and it has been a great success. More such kind of initiatives is needed. But the main hindrance is a lack of identifying the stage of depression, low motivation, lack of enthusiasm, sudden mood swings along with others may be some the starting signs. Early detection, better mentorship and acceptance in the society could possibly help in fighting with depression. Social awareness via various modes needs to be promoted to make people aware and provide a remedy to the problem.

Hello Sir, I was very enlightened by reading this well written and researched article. Definitely in today’s rapidly changing word, issues like depression, stress and anxiety have percolated into our lives and are wreaking havoc. From adolescents to grownups, any person anyone can find themselves under the grip of mental health problems. I was astounded to find out that more than 50 million people in India suffer from mental illness. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men are persecuted by a major depressive episode at some point in their lives. Despite such alarming numbers very few actually reach out for help due to lack of awareness and the social stigma related to mental health problems. Some first steps have been taken up by the popular celebrities like Deepika Padukone and Honey Singh whose revelation about battling with depression aroused a lot of public attention towards the issue. However, we still need to sensitise people enough to allow those with mental illness to live their lives with respect and dignity. I agree with you that unexpected changes such as losing a loved one, job troubles or end of a relationship can lead to stress and then cause depression. However, after a close family member of mine experienced a major bout of depression I was surprised to know that this may not be the only reason. It is likely that there are possible genetic factors which might lead to a person being depressed irrespective of the situations, and a lot of research is being made in this regard. Depression can impair our lives and make it difficult to do everyday things, however, it is very much treatable. Without letting the fear of social stigma get the better of us, we need to provide full support and treatment to help our friends and family suffering from these illnesses. Being Proactive and seeking professional help early on will really expedite the recovery. I believe it is time we change our attitude towards mental health issues.

Thank you ,to every one who took the time to give insightful feedback and commentary on the subject ,including sharing painful personal memories. Let us recognize these symptoms and share. I am appending below a checklist from Mayo Clinic which is helpful for anyone who wants to learn more from a practical p.o.v For clinical depression, you must have five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period, most of the day, nearly every day. At least one of the symptoms must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure. Signs and symptoms may include: Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as constant irritability) Significantly reduced interest or feeling no pleasure in all or most activities Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected) Insomnia or increased desire to sleep Either restlessness or slowed behavior that can be observed by others Fatigue or loss of energy Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt Trouble making decisions, or trouble thinking or concentrating Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt Your symptoms must be severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in day-to-day activities, such as work, school or social activities. Symptoms may be based on your own feelings or on the observations of someone else. Clinical depression can affect people of any age, including children. However, clinical depression symptoms, even if severe, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.

This is a very import topic which needs attention. Educating the communities on Stress induced depression will be important in times to come. World health organization reports that over 300 million people suffer from depression. It is also said that depression is major cause of disabilities & diseases. I have witnessed stress induced depression very closely, when a friend of mine was going through bad marriage. I could very well map the behavior I noticed with the “Kubler- Ross change curve”. The stage between denial & Anger was the most difficult time for every one of us, who were closely associated. We could see her venting hate on every possible person or object. The stage between bargaining & depression was once again difficult. The energy that was put to save the relation was tremendous denying reality, like a dying person struggling to live a moment longer. Finally when she gave up, she fell into a state of depression even attempting suicide. Probably the worst stag of stress & can lead to suicides. One of the most common and only cause of suicides in the recent times.

Indeed very insightful article, which bring reality of today’s life crisis on surface. In fact, I strongly believe that life has become race from childhood itself. Starting from childhood, the expectation from parents that “My child should be master of all “cause the stress form childhood itself &the child cannot live his childhood life & become a part of rat race. There are instances registered, where child faces the stress & falls in to depression, which is ignored or not noticed. Another example kids face similar dilemma when they see others with kids playing with new age gadgets, wearing branded clothes, and travelling to foreign destination for vacations. In the young age (25 to 35), I feel there is dual pressure causes tremendous stress. One Social & Professional. Social stress is mainly for status in the society and better family life style. This is linked with again professional life, since a person wants to become successful at young age & becomes too ambitious. He takes some times unnecessary risks & fall into financial stress. In professional life – It is all about become successful person & attaining leadership position too early (Highly ambitious person). I fully agree with author regarding his views about VUCA world. Any unexpected change brings Volatility, Uncertainty, and Complexity & Ambiguity in the life of human being. So either person falls in to trap of VUCA world, if he / she takes uncalculated risk in the professional life or he/ she delay the change, which also cause a different kind of stress & sometimes loose the opportunity. At this moment, I would like to share my personal experience regarding delaying the change in my professional life mainly because of different priorities of family & experienced the all five stages of Kubler-Ross’ model, as described in the blog. Fortunately, with help of mentor & timely counselling, I could come out from the phase quickly. I accepted the change for attaining higher position and at the moment I am enjoying last stage “moving on” Someone may say “Depression is threat to society “ My question is can we afford to be remain mediocre in this competitive age? Answer is No as per my view. However there are ways & means to manage the stress through Yoga / Pranayama & other therapy. The need is to create awareness regarding depression is a disease. Since many people do not accept this & fall in to irreversible situation in life. My brother is doctor & practice the psychotherapy & I have learned so many such instances through him. Timely action helps avoid such situation at any age in life & hep attaining the last stage of Kubler- Ross model. This is what our leaders need to learn and develop – this is not intellectual (IQ), & emotional (EQ) and it is not task oriented, it is often people oriented. To come over this, we need leaders with high levels of self-actualization. I would appreciate you for the noble thought of bringing this issue in front of common people and guiding a way to handle the unexpected changes that occur in life. THANK YOU!!!!

Today’s world continuously changing, it’s continuously moving and our generation need to accept this change and move accordingly. We have self-set expectations for our family, kids, friends & business. Sometimes we try hard to achieve those set goals but not necessary we will meet those goals every time in life. This leads to stress in our life which can be for short period of time, but in few cases it may prolong for longer span which could lead to depression in our life. Depression I believe is mental blockage which not only reduces your working efficiency but also reduces motivation, enthusiasm and you are always low on energy. It’s like a morass, more you get deep into more it is difficult to come out of. Not necessary that every time common man see symptoms of stress and depression, this can be witnessed in successful people’s life as well. Best examples here could be celebrities like Rajesh Khanna or Vinod Khanna who indeed were successful in their career but at later stage went into depression. Insecurity can be a cause in such cases, whether it is maintaining name, fame and stardom status or insecurity on family or personal front. Surprisingly one out of every two employees in corporate India shows signs of anxiety and depression. Prolonged ongoing stress due to personal and work contexts was identified as trigger for mental illness. One of study shown that 42.5% employees shows signs of stress and depression because of demanding schedules, high-stress levels, and performance-linked perquisites in private sectors. So this supports the statement of VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) which leads to stress and depression. What is important is learning to cope up with change which can help beating stress and depression. That’s what Kubler –Ross change curve suggests, faster you respond to change, faster you moves on beating depressions in life. Important is to make people aware of this situation and its possible consequences and help them know how to cope up with it.

Depression: Epidemic of Depression Thank You Professor Sampath for discussing the burning issue of 21st century, depression. The article is clinical in content and scientific. Major stress is given on ‘change’ which is constant but difficult to cope up the change if it is frequent. VUCA is now a part of life in 21st century across geography, race, ethnicity, age, gender. The Kubler-Ross’ model nicely describes five stages of coping or adjustment; the 5 stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. The model is useful in nature to understand the changes in internal behaviour to external changes. Depression is a depiction of individual’s incapability to deal with changes. Views: There are a number of under-examined fault lines running through the medical literature on depression, and current clinical practice. This chiefly stems from a too exclusively biomedical focus, neglecting the social construction of the human mind. For a start, the term `depression' tends to be used without qualification, as if it was settled that we were always referring to a free-standing biologically-based disorder. There is also an important international dimension. `Depression' is said to contribute 12% of the total burden of nonfatal global disease. The World Health Organization describes it as an epidemic that within two decades will be second only to cardiovascular disease in terms of global disease burden. Many people are prescribed antidepressant drugs having many side effects without clear diagnosis of depression. Depression is a disease in which changes takes place at neurotransmitter level. The stress has increased substantially at work and social front and it requires cumulative efforts to deal with it. The Indian values like prayer, yoga, healthy food habits, and social engagement are the best alternative to deal with depression even including expert counselling. The suicidal rate has increased substantially all across the ages including teenagers because of over expectation and performance laid distress. We need to deal with depression multidimensional without undermining the lack of acute symptoms.

When I saw this blocg and the title Stress and Depression, immediately Jagjit Singh's famous song pop ups in my mind. Song says "Mujhko lota de bachpan ka sawan, woh kagaz ki kashti wo barish ka pani".This movie was released in year1987, almost 30 years back, though at that time depression was not that much famous or popular but this songs says everything about stress and depression. All human being once in their life faced the problem of stress as well as Depression. There is no area of life that does not suffer when stress and depression is present.Marriage, friendship, finances, parenting, careers these are the few examples but almost every aspect of daily living is compromised by this disease. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression , globally. What this means to us ? This means we are in a very dangerous situation and need to work very quickly to get rid of these sickness. As per the medical science if people are in happy mood then this can help them to fight with depression. Work pressure, late night working, unbalance diet and life style is the major reason for stress and depression. To cope up with this illness we must need to follow up the old ancient Indian life style. If we do the below things on daily basis then surely we can manage the stress and depression very easily. Below are the few things which are very critical and everyone must need to include these things in their daily life. 1. Take a good and healthy sleep - This will help us to relax our body , mind and soul 2. Do daily physical exercise at least for one hour - this will help to release all negative energy from our body 3. Balance the work and life , give complete rest whenever your body and mind needs it. 3. Meditation -This will also help to reduce the stress from mind as well as from body.

Yes, very right – this is a timely article. Stress induced depression has taken an epidemic proportion. The advertisements run on prime time television channel to help one coming out of depression is a testimony to the deep rooted evil. Stress – it’s wide spread. Starting from school to perform well, to become number one in every endeavor is taking its toll on the young minds. The pressure from the family, the obvious competition with the friends making one’s life lonely day by day. Whether, the young star is capable of taking that stress is a matter not to be ignored. The family is the biggest strength in this hour but is they there? In many circumstances the answer is a big NO. We start comparing our child with the neighbourhood good boy or the close family friend’s daughter who has performed exemplarily well in all spheres including co-curricular. There is this fare share of pressure from the social media where everything seems possible. Come to work life environment in the corporate world – this is far murkier than one can imagine. I have this friend who in a very short career became team lead in one of India’s largest software farm. His works were appreciated and there was no reason to feel depressed. But there was! If you are so good then why are you continuing with this company? You try to move on to company X, can you do it? That’s stress from peer who is probably envy at his success or may be eying the position he is in. He did not have anyone to share his feelings, parents were away and he was yet to have his own family as well. The end result - lot of meditation, feeling demotivated to work purely due to peer pressure, resulting in irregularity at workplace and one fine day he had to leave his job. Now, he is leading the life of a vagabond, a promising career is cut short. This is not one example, there will be plenty. How to come out of this? At young age the parents, the teachers should look for sudden behavioral change, the company he or she keeps or there is no one at all. At work life one should have at least a few friends if not from within the organization may be from others, a childhood one, a course mate. Here, social media can have a positive impact, one should look for friends with similar ideology and thoughts where one can share their common hobby and pursue it. The fight has to come from within, the fight not to fall in any trap, stay focused, have someone to share your feelings.

I remember once waking up to read a news article, wherein a very successful senior official of a company passed away while doing a work-out in the morning. Later it was revealed that he was working on lot of stress and had not slept properly for many days at stretch. This is what life is in many parts of the world where corporate life has become so hectic that health takes a back seat. Stress is something that we are used to taking from our school days. Performance related, peer pressure, social pressure we have seen it all. Ability to handle success and failure is key to survival. Today we see increase in number of suicides due to failure in 10th and 12th grades. We have seen many cases of suicides/deaths of many Hollywood stars/singers due to drug overdose. Stardom comes with lot of pressure from fans and media, and the easy way out thought is drugs and anti-depressants, over dependence on both can be fatal. In today’s time and age amount of travel involved leads to spending most of the time away from our families and family in my opinion is the biggest stress reliever. A very pertinent point raised in this article is about the Change. I too believe in the saying that Change is only constant in life. Today in our corporate life change happens at a regular interval. Change of job, location, boss all can create disruption in our life. The better we handle it is easier for us to survive in the competitive world. Change of president in USA affects our job in India is a classic example of stress related to Change. Change is also very aptly explained in Kubler - Ross Change Curve. It talks of Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance. As a human tendency, we first refuse to accept the change and stay in Denial mode, the stages move forward and the earlier we are able to come in to acceptance mode, which we generally do, better for us. In your article you have summed up today’s global and fast moving world being defined as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). I always know this is as VUCCA where another “C” stands for Chaotic. I would like to end with a quote by Robin Sharma “Change is hard at First, Messy in the middle and Gorgeous at the end”

An informative article on stress, depression and related concerns in today’s dynamic and uncertain world OR as it is termed – VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). The article starts with issues that lead to stress and depression at personal level, moves on to the ill effects of unprecedented changes at Global level and then delves deeper in to the “Kubler-Ross change curve model” – explaining various stages of depression. It often takes a while for us to adjust to a new house, to feel home in a new country or to make friends in a classroom full of strangers. These are minor changes in life and most of the times we plan and prepare ahead of time. Come think of it, what if there was a bigger, unexpected, irrevocable rather unwanted change. Under such circumstances our world topples on both personal and professional fronts. But, our preparedness and reaction to such inevitable changes define our ability to avoid or beat depression and overcome the situation faster. Easier said than done, isn’t it? Kubler and Ross model so aptly describes 5 stages of coping with changes. It is not necessary that all the stages are applicable to everyone in the same format. What is important is creating awareness among the people. Awareness of seeking medical help for mental wellbeing when needed, so that one can bounce back stronger than the earlier version of oneself. The model can also be applied by leadership of organizations while bringing in impending changes in to organizations/teams and teach people on coping with the changes. Apart from what the author has described, I would also like to add that we as parents should make an informed attempt to bring up emotionally strong next generation. We need to ensure that the future generation does not succumb to the pressure of growing and unreasonable demands of social media. Create awareness among the younger generation on what is important and what is not and when in trouble it is OK or rather necessary to talk to people and seek help and that there is always a next chance after every failure.

The information given to me in your blog has been very informative, always read your post. You get something to learn in a post done by you. Well done. It's a great example of setting a goal and creating that content. Hope you will continue to do such informative posts , ,

I believe this article address a very crucial situation that generation is experiencing – Stress & Depression. But perhaps a point that can be added is around identifying the triggers for stress, the effects of stress and depression and the differentiation between stress and depression so that each of the two can be address and dealt with appropriately. I believe that a right diagnosis is critical in treating a problem, where identification of the problem against the symptom is the key in doing so. In today’s world, stress and depression are rather loosely used interchangeably which has somehow merged the two to mean a similar condition. This perhaps may be the biggest problem in dealing with the depression. To break it up stress is a common disorder that can originate from multiple sources – internal or external. Stress, in itself, is not a bad thing – it can be a catalyst for change and progress. However, don’t get me wrong, ‘stress’ is a ‘dis-ease’ in a normal human system arising due to physical or emotional pressure. Untreated, this can lead to serious conditions – one of it being, depression. Depression is more serious and long-lasting than stress, and requires a different kind of help. There are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It's believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression. Hence, identifying the situation as stated above is important to deal with them. Stress is a common phenomenon and can be easily dealt with in a personal capacity, however, depression is far more serious and needs assistance to be treated. One of the possible solution to deal with depression has been highlighted in this article and I hope this will add value to anyone reading this blog. Thank you sir!

They say it’s all in the mind. It sure is. But in a rather opposite way to what people around us believe. A general reaction of most people when someone says they are depressed is that they are thinking too much, that they should really just let it go. Though we have made depression a very common term for any phase of emotional stress, it still is a big and ignored problem even in its original sense. We do not pay attention to our mind and its health like we do to our other body parts. With the increasing roles that we play in our lives and the people and groups around who influence us, it has been growing at a tremendous rate and been going completely unattended for people who are not necessarily surrounded by psychologists or others who understand the impact of it. Every case of depression is not as severe that might need a medical intervention but nevertheless leaves a deep impact on the life and functioning of the one who suffers from it. We need to realize that almost everyone who is stressed, in personal life or professional, who loses something important or undergoes an unwanted change goes through various feelings to cope with it, one of which is depression. As mentioned by you Sir in the article and by my own experience, the five stages of coping with such change or loss do not necessarily occur in the same order. For me it happened a little differently, where anger came first, followed by bargaining, depression and denial hitting me at the same time, which was then followed by acceptance, still a continuing process. Depression and denial are the hardest stages to cross because to leap out of such an upset mindset and situation becomes difficult on our own in absence of any support from family, friends or peers. A good and comfortable environment to climb out of it then becomes of prime importance. With increasing pressure on us and on everybody around us, the least we can do is realize that others might be suffering what we suffer every day and try to help the ones near us be a little healthier by talking to them. Talking to someone when you suspect there is something wrong is the first step towards their treatment. Once they have let out what hurts, we can always help them get through it and back to a happy healthy life.

Comment: Let’s Talk About Depression It’s not every day that one comes across such articles as yours on stress and depression. It indeed was a good read. Thank you Sir for touching upon this topic and offering your insights. Stress and depression are on the rise in today’s fast paced, modern world. Our lives today are becoming robotic with each passing day. Further living in an increasingly competitive world , has started to take its toll on us. And by us I wish to emphasize on the youth. It’s indeed true that change is the only constant. But are we able to keep up with it? Or are we losing out on our ability to handle difficult situations that may occur at different stages in our lives. I believe the latter holds true for my generation. Having survived depression myself, I can easily relate to the article. I still remember each and every day two to three years back of suffering from anxiety, insomnia, sadness and helplessness. There was no particular reason for the same. This is the most important aspect one must understand about depression that there is not always a cause for feelings. I had everything going for me. I was living a comfortable life, had a loving family by my side and was studying in one of the best institutes in the country. But something did not feel right. I remember not being able to sleep and if I slept then not wanting to wake up. I remember feeling anxious twenty-four seven with my heart beating faster and faster with each though that came to my mind when I worried about my future. This went on for almost an year until I realized that I needed professional help. I was initially skeptical about approaching my parents. I reached out to a close friend who fixed up an appointment with a psychologist. On the day of the appointment, I just couldn’t do this alone. I finally gathered the courage to tell my parents who from thereon left no stone unturned to help and support me. They took me to a doctor and soon I was healing, living without fears and learning to be happy again. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that its high time we accept that depression exists and asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. Its our responsibility as a society to be more kind towards those suffering. Acknowledging their feelings is the first step to their well being. Just as one takes a medicine when suffering from a disease , depression too can be treated. In recent times, many celebrities have spoken about their mental health struggles which has not only created awareness about depression but also encouraged many to come forward and seek help. We need to realise that its not a taboo and all one needs is love, care, patience and support. As Dumbledore said, “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”.

Sir, it’s a very Insightful and relevant article. In the current competitive world one of the main thing we have to take care is about our mental health. It is as important as our physical health. Stress is a common disorder in humans that arises due to mental pressure. Stress and Depression, both are very much interconnected. Stress is one of the main reason which leads to depression. There are many things which leads to depression. In the fast moving world changes are inevitable. We have to be aware that change happens and the most important thing is to accept the change. There can be professional as well as personal changes. We have understand the situation and act accordingly. We all have certain future expectation. If the changes are not according to our expectation we often find difficulty in adapting to the change. The Kubler Ross model describe how acceptance of change happens in five stages. Of these stages the important one is how quickly you can move on. Only if you challenge yourself to face tough situation and move forward then only you can compete with the changing world. India is one of the country which is having highest suicide rate for youth. And of this a major cause is depression. The excessive expectation and unrealistic goals is leading them to this situation. It is important to create awareness among the youth and help them how to handle pressure and failures. Depression is something which can happen to anyone. It is something which has to be treated. Always be willing to seek help and also to help others whenever needed. . The most important thing is always having a positive mind, involve yourself to changes and to locate yourself in the new scenario.

Undoubtfully very insightful article. Often when we get trapped into daily life one needs to be aware of his mental health. Nowadays, many people experience stress as they manage busy lives and the burdens of study and work while trying to save time for friends and family. Stress, over a prolonged period of time, can increase certain mental and health risks, especially Depression. People usually think that causes of depression are negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands or forces individual to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion. It can also be self-generated, like when one worries excessively about something that may or may not happens. The signs and symptoms of depression can be almost anything.. Stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, and everyone experiences stress differently. Not only can overwhelming stress lead to serious mental and physical health problems, it can also take a toll on one’s relationships at home, work, and school, making the situation worse. The worst part is that people who experience excessive stress or go through depression often don’t realize that. And even when they do they hesitate to share it and get help because they are in the stage of denial. Acceptance is the step to embrace yourself and get out of depression. It is extremely important hence that one take professional help if they don't want to fall into the vicious circle.

First of all, I would like to thank Vijay Sampath sir for shedding some light through this article on ‘Change induced Depression’ and trying to break down the causes and phases into discrete elements. This breakdown reduces the subjectivity of the topic and also makes it easier to understand. The article mentions about the modern population going into depression due to performance anxiety in social media. If my understanding about ‘social media’ reference is right, it consists of all platforms, online or offline, that enable us to interact with the outside world; generating perceptions about us and painting our personality. Although it is very important to maintain a good perception about yourself at work and in your personal life, it should not be given so much importance in one’s life that it begins to consume us. Citing from my personal experiences, I have seen people who are inactive on social media being more content and secure than people who practically live on social media platforms. The article states that the modern times are bombarded with change bullets while this was not the case with previous generations. I respectfully disagree. In the 1920’s and 30’s and then in the 50’s and 60’s, the world underwent enormous changes, changes that percolated down to the very basic and individual levels. World economies crumbled, wars were fought, diseases spread and new scientific innovations kept coming every other day. The day to day life was very difficult back then. We, in this era have got so much time in our hands to discuss and ponder on such problems only to let those problems grow on us and consume us from within. This is where my core idea on how to tackle depression lies; control emotions and find distractions temporarily. It is seen that people go into shock followed by denial on matters and subjects where they have invested a lot of emotions. Subjects and issues that are close to your heart are the ones that actually disturbs you the most. As a preventive measure, it is better to develop a thick-skinned approach to such stimuli. One should not get emotions or situations get the better of oneself. I would also like to bring the ‘terminal illness’ example mentioned in the article here to prove my point- I have seen two kinds of people who suffer from terminal diseases; the ones who get depressed over the issue and leave the world behind them to lead a life of solitude and others who actually don’t worry about their illness and make the most of whatever time they have left with them. And then there are necessary distraction; necessary in the sense that they are required to keep your mind off depressing issues. To summarize, it actually depends on what sort of a person you are and your reactions towards depressing situations. We should not see depression from the cause’s side assuming the fact that a theory can illustrate what effects it can have on people rather treat each individual as a separate entity and analyze how he or she deals with depression. At the end of the day, the purpose is to understand whether depression can be tamed or not.

Firstly, I’d like to commend Mr. Vijay Sampath on choosing to write about this issue. In recent times depression and anxiety have garnered considerable media attention in the West. In our country, however, it is still considered a somewhat taboo topic. There is an ingrained tendency to view the depressed as weak and even crazy. It is considered a shameful state to be in and people are told to ‘snap out of it’ or get over it. While people are beginning to abstractly accept that depression is real and potentially serious, there is still an inherent awkwardness in people when confronted with an actual case. This lack of understanding and even acceptance, which can lead to a great deal of insensitivity. This insensitivity can be damaging at a time when, as Mr. Sampath points out, people need an atmosphere of affection and comfort to work in. This takes away the ‘safe space’ that people need for recovery. Another problem is a strong cultural tendency to distrust psychologists and anti-depression treatments. Therapy and anti-depressants are viewed as things needed by spoiled, neurotic westerners, not for us Indians. Interestingly, there’s a perception that if people find out you were ever treated for depression, you will never be able to get married. This matters in a country where marriage is such a colossally significant institution. There are thus, real fears of seeking help for depression and anxiety for fear of being caught. I believe that Mr. Sampath’s article successfully highlights some of the many triggers of depression, but I believe it did not successfully draw out these as some of the issues depressed people may face. However, coming to the reasons for this recent rise in depression, or at least this recent rise in people admitting to being depressed (for I believe people are far more comfortable talking about it in these present times), I agree that rampant consumerism, an increasingly doom and gloom oriented media, and an increasingly uncertain global situation are contributing to the helplessness and lack of control people feel. As far as the cure goes, I believe that the environment people live in can exacerbate or dampen the severity of depression. Being surrounded by understanding, love and kindness can be greatly helpful and if it doesn’t help at least it keeps things from getting worse. Professional help, in my opinion, should never be sneezed at, particularly for the cases that last longer than a few weeks or a few months. In my opinion, depressed people are also often more self-aware than people give them credit for. I think when possible, we just need to listen to them articulate their emotions and their needs. And we should never, ever tell them to ‘just get over it.’

This article by Prof. Vijay Sampath is one of the most relevant topics to discuss and debate in today’s world, the reason being the large number of people that are going through this cycle as explained by the Kubler-Ross model. Looking at the student population in today’s world a vast majority of students at some point or the other in their life would have gone through this by themselves. This cycle of depression is so well masked by the host of the problems that it becomes near impossible for the people who are around him to identify and even they do in most cases it becomes too late for any cure to be suggested. In this article it has been beautifully mentioned that stress is the prime cause for inducing depression in today’s world. Although my viewpoint also lines itself in a similar direction I believe that stress alone is not a factor in this cycle, apart from the stress from the work environment, performance or peers, it also includes responsibilities from family members, the expectations that other people hold on you be it your friends or family. All these factors keep the people in the constant loop of self-pity and not realizing their own true potential. The harshness in this is the fact that there is nobody around who is there to help people come out of this cycle and there is a huge stigma attached in the society towards people who seek professional help in such matters. The VUCA world and how people are unprepared, unaware and untutored to cope up with change is yet another major reason for people being sucked into the depression cycle. I feel that the reason for people being not ready to face the issues of the world should be attributed to the elementary flaws in the education system. The education system is so restrictive in nature that any harsh comment or punishment that is issued by the teacher has become a punishable offense. Every time a teacher used to punish us in our school as a kid it was surrounded by a sense of protecting us and preparing us for the real world, but when society does the same there isn’t any protective element in it and then people will not be able to cope with the harshness of the situation. One point I felt that played a much bigger role that that of career trauma situation is that people todays are overly influenced by what others perceive them as rather than what they think about themselves. Various social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter add onto this. Recently I came across a colleague who was doubting his own abilities and worth, all because of a post on Facebook which conveyed someone else’s view of him. Exactly like sir had mentioned I too believe that dealing with such situations should now be taught to people either through institutions or by leaders themselves.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Sir! This was quite a fascinating read. Change is indeed one of key inducers of stress in today’s world. Changing lifestyles, work pressures, career driven lives and highly competitive work/study environments are all contributing to increased stress and damaging the mental health and well-being of individuals. However, one major driver of stress that could potentially lead to depression is “loneliness”. Our world is becoming increasingly connected by the various ever growing social media channels, but this increase has been accompanied by a growing number of cases of depression and anxiety. It is quite ironical that people feel “disconnected” in a world that is always “On-line”. Maybe the reason for this is that our brains are constantly “On-Line” but our hearts are “Off-line”. We spend more time reacting to the pictures of “Best-Burger-I-ever-had” and “Checked-into-Disney-land–with-3-others” than we do reacting to the hardships of those around us. Human element of interactions and conversations is missing and it has aggravated the issues even more. Most families are now nuclear families and disconnect between parents and children is on rise. People find it difficult to have open conversations and express their true emotions. All this has led to an Existential crisis where people find it difficult to see a purpose or meaning to human existence. We are becoming more productive and efficient but at what cost? The entire endeavour of working hard and earning money has lost its bigger purpose. “Why are we doing this?” or “For whom are we doing this?” are old but very important questions. We all need motivation to do things at different points in life and disconnected lonely lives are essentially devoid of this motivation. In extreme cases, this loneliness driven crisis could then lead an individual to buy the philosophy of “Nihilism”. The oxford dictionary describes Nihilism as “The rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless”. To put it straight, it is when a person can’t decide if he should have coffee or kill himself (Source: Knappily). Thus, loneliness is causing us to lose the meaning of life and causing an existential crisis or, in worse cases, making us nihilists. Social media has indeed created a warm safe bubble where it seems like everything and everyone is safe and happy and is living their dreams. The reality is however too far from this “Most liked” picture. Human life is difficult and we are fighting two parallel wars here. One where we fight our problems (External) and one where we force ourselves to paint a rosy picture (Internal) which is far from the truth. It is important that we rejuvenate our relationships, be more empathetic towards people and bring the human element back to our conversations. We need relationships that can bring us back from our existential crisis and give us a reason to push ahead in our work lives as well. I will conclude with a quote by Morty (Rick and Morty, TV series): “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. We are all going to die. Come watch TV?”

I would like to thank Professor Vijay Sampath for this wonderful article about how Kubler-Ross model can be used for learning how to cope with change. From the time, a child is three years old he's pushed into a rat race. Expectations from parents, peers, teachers, and competition at all levels result in tension, ridicule, and self-hatred. This is following us to the virtual world of social media. People want to become that famous YouTuber, Instagram celebrity, and popular tweeter. Career growth problems, managerial conflicts, poor official communication skills, layoffs are a few aspects people talk about at the workplace. We keep unrealistic deadlines and try to chase them. Many succumb to the pressure as they value what society thinks about them and society judges on performance. This path of proving ourselves extraordinary in every walk of our life be it at work, family or socially is what is leading to the stress in our lives. High chronic stress levels make us prone to depression. Instead what we should run after is creating meaningfulness in an ordinary life. The interconnectedness of the world means that every global phenomenon is impacting us in some way. The technology, markets, and mother nature are all advancing simultaneously and so rapidly that the time to adapt to change has reduced significantly and every change is perceived as a shock. But unfortunately, there is no easy pill to swallow. We must accept that we no longer know which force is going to cause disruption in the next moment. What will help us in the future is flexibility and quick adaptability to change. As Friedman writes “A successful cow milker in the future may need to be an astute data reader and analyst”. If we keep the model in mind, it would definitely help us in knowing which phase we are in and coming up with a plan to quickly move on to the acceptance phase. There is a growing need for creating awareness for the symptoms of depression. Corporates must empower their employees in effectively coping with this stress-induced depression. Social media platforms can be leveraged for this purpose. What becomes more important is not succumbing to the causes of stress at the first place than the much talked about stress-management. Friends, family, colleagues provide outlets when stress levels are excessive. Listening to them, giving a pat on their back and assuring them that things are going to be fine can be the simplest first step.

Dear Sir, I always enjoy reading about the effect of societal changes on the human psyche. With the Instagram and Snapchat culture of today making sure that every moment has the right camera filter and causes the right amount of ‘buzz’, it is very rare that we find ourselves truly alone. From our teenage years onwards, most of us are aware of the insecurities that our mind carries with it. However, instead of taking a step back and breaking down these insecurities in order to better understand and overcome them, we tend to avoid thinking about them, letting our lives play out as a reactive channel to the changing waves of the world. In essence, that is the root of the problem. People look for permanent happiness in an impermanent world. People associate meaningful goals to superficial objects. After a certain point of time, the search starts to look futile, and that is when depression hits. Social media platforms now allow people to pick and choose the life they want to show the rest of the world. An intriguing thought is the fact that we actually do the same thing without a social media platform every day. In reality we put on a mental mask; showing the emotions we choose to show and merely uttering that which society requires us to speak in different situations. What social media accomplishes is a physical mask of sorts. It allows us to paint our own picture the way we would want others to see it. This trend of depression and the increased frequency of socioeconomic change both point to the fact that while we are advancing at unforeseen rates technologically, as humans we are devolving. We find it harder than ever to express how we truly feel, even to those close to us. We choose to put entertainers on a pedestal in society, as they create the most ‘buzz’. We find strong feelings of racism and bigotry among people today, even with the progressive, inclusive, and connected society that Facebook has shaped. While I wish there could be some magic formula to solve the problems that affect our society today, they instead seem to be accelerating with no end in sight. The Kubler-Ross Change Curve gives a logical picture as to the changes in mindset upon a traumatic change. We see that post shock, denial is the first state of mind we experience. As we tend to become so invested in our surroundings that we nearly become a part of them, when any major change takes place, our first thought is naturally disbelief. This sets off the chain reactor to anger, bargaining, and depression. This entire process is caused by the simple fact that we are so invested in our situation or surrounding that any change immediately affects us as well. We need to remain like butter on water; touching the water but never submerging into it. Finding our inner center, free of the views or opinions of society, is the first step to overcoming depression.

Thank You, Vijay sir, for the wonderful article. Depression is becoming one of the most important issues that the Indian youth is facing today. Volatility and the uncertainty in today’s world is one of the major reasons for increasing stress level in today’s youth. I think that along with the volatility and the uncertainty of the VUCA world the change in lifestyle is also a major factor for increasing stress levels in the Indian youth. In the past decade, the Indian youth is trying to move to the western lifestyle. By doing so our eating habits have been changed greatly. The intake of the fast food has grown by epic promotions. It is said that a healthy body is a home to a healthy mind. Thus, as the people are moving towards an unhealthy lifestyle their mind is being affected. The family structure of the Indian families has changed quite a bit in the last 2 decades. From being a single large family we are moving towards nuclear families. This is especially true for the people that are working in the metro cities. As the families have become smaller and the jobs of the people are becoming more and more time demanding people aren’t able to give sufficient time to their families. This has led to developing of an emotional gap between the family members. Due to this, the emotional need of the individual doesn’t get fulfilled. Thus, the individual isn’t able to share his problems and they keep piling up leading to increased stress levels. Another reason for the increase in stress levels has been the change in the sleep pattern. A good and sound sleep is needed to reset the neurons in the brain so that when we wake up again we can think again properly. As the organizations are becoming global, people have to adjust their work timings so as to coordinate with the people around the world. This has led to the sleeping pattern becoming quite erratic. Due to the disturbance in the sleep pattern people are not able to get sound sleep, thus the stress of the past days keeps accumulating finally leading to depression. The Kubler-Ross model discussed is the blog can help in identifying the depression by helping the individual to keep prepared for the changes. But the biggest problem that still remains is moving from identifying the depression to actually accepting it. Most people still don’t realize that depression is a kind of illness and they need to come out it. Unless this denial phase ends people won’t be able to come out of the depression. Thus, to keep yourself ready for the change is a good solution but before that people need to understand that depression is an illness and a serious one at that. Only then the Kubler-Ross model would prove to be useful.

Dear Prof. Vijay Sampath Before I express my views, I would like to really appreciate you for taking out time and effort to write on a subject which is often mocked by people in today’s society. Depression is synonymous to mental illness and madness in today’s world. People still go to ‘Fakirs, Hakims and Babas’ to get it treated. Few people think that the depressed person is not actually depressed but is either too arrogant or is craving for attention. According to a study by ‘Pediatrics’, there has been an increase in numbers of teens having a major depressive episode from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.4% in 2014. The percentage is increasing further. With much of life revolving around social media on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, the need to get validation has increased than ever before. The trend to upload a picture whenever you go out, whenever you dress, whenever you shop etc. has become a major reason for depression. It sows the seed of unnecessary wants in the minds of people who were once completely happy with their life. Now, these people also want to do the same things and prove to the world that they are no less. Often, the inability to look pretty, shop, vacation and being with friends all the time brings them in a state of unhappiness. When this unhappiness last for a long period of time, it results in dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction if not handled leads to confidence erosion and hence, depression. The need to be okay and accept the way one is has become utmost important. I thank you sir for making me aware about The Kubler Ross curve. The need to succeed and be known by people is overhyped. The rat race is no more a rat race. The cats, dogs and everybody else is forced to take part. One is often considered aimless and stupid if he/ she don’t run behind the things mentioned above. The result is everybody wants to be at the top and everybody wants to be famous. How is that even practically possible? A leader can be a leader only if there are some followers, a person can be at top only if there are some people below him. The false notion to find happiness in the superficial things such as money and recognition has taken a toll. People have forgotten about their needs and have moved ahead where the wants are never satisfying. They have made their wants their need. Their life revolves around these so called needs. It is high time we start acknowledging who we are and start taking pride in it. Depression can be put to an end only when we start embracing each other and take off our superficial masks. It is high time we stop thinking about ourselves as above others. Everybody is on the same level here. Somebody has some talent, somebody has some other. A person is to be defined by the content of the character and not by the beauty of the body. Depression is not an ailment, it is a situation. A situation that can be easily dealt with the required support.

A very nicely written article, Sir. Today’s world is changing at a pace that is unlike anything we have seen. With each passing day, there is uncertainty in the world. Be it the way we interact with people or the work we do, the change is palpable on a day-to-day basis. As mentioned in the article, the VUCA world has had a detrimental effect on people’s mental health. The most visible effect is an increase in stress level. Today, there is a lot of pressure on an individual, both in his personal and professional life due to the changes around him. When this pressure crosses a certain level, it leads to stress and ultimately to depression. The most important characteristics to handle stress is to be flexible and be open to change. In this ever-changing environment, the traits that carried us in the past might not help us in the future. This means, individuals who are quick to learn move forward and become better prepared for the future. Learning agility is especially important to survive in the VUCA world wherein an individual should have the flexibility and agility while grasping a new idea. Organizations can play their role and help employees in coping with the changing paradigm. One method is cognitive training which involves training participants to view current circumstances as a learning scenario. The other method involves mindfulness training which consists of reflection and journaling. Employees can also be encouraged to improve their physical health, which has a direct connection to mental health. It is also important that we have a strong bond with our friends and families with whom we can share our concerns and troubles. This supports positive emotions and clear thinking. Change is the only constant thing in this world. It is crucial to believe that whatever happens in our life, be it good or bad, happens for a reason. If we learn from it, we will emerge as better individuals. As the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them- that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let the things flow forward in a natural way.”

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