500 Army Men Talk About Depression

3 minutes

No tiresome military training, no ear piercing bullet firing sessions. These men in khakhi who are always busy defending the nation in severe conditions were seen laughing their heart out, penning down their experiences in colourful chits of paper, bursting balloons like children, singing and performing shayaris on Thursday.

Around 500 army men, all stationed in the city, spoke out about their hidden sorrow and stress at an event organised by yourDOST – an online counseling and emotional wellness coaching , exclusively for jawans and army personnel at the Corps of Military Police (CMP) Centre and School on Thursday. The theme was ‘Depression- Let’s Talk’,

Despite the day’s training, the crowd remained cheerful and jubilant, all of them willing to talk on depression existing in the army. “What we lack is laughter in our lives. All we need to do to keep depression away is by engaging ourselves into simple activities that can bring back fun and joy in our lives. Our lifestyle involves working the whole day and sleep at night. We do not stop by to nurture anything” said Satish Kumar, a jawan.

Not just anxiety and depression, they opened up about their former girlfriends, their heart breaks and trivial quarrels with their wives, which they miss, being far away from home. “We know, we cannot cling onto to a hard situation. We have to overcome it and move forward.,” explained Satish.

Pointing at what triggers depression among army men, Dilip, another jawan, said: “Staying away from family is tough, facing extremes weather conditions during a mission is tougher. What eats us up often is the sense of guilt that we are unable to carry out our responsibilities towards our old parents, wife and children. This leads to stress.”

“In majority of the cases, our family members aren’t willing to cooperate. What they don’t realize is that the lifestyle of an army man is very different from that of a civilian. We have a lot of restrictions. Our parents long for our support at their old age which we fail to fulfill. All these result in stress, anxiety, guilt, shame and depression,” he added.

Most of them pointed out that increasing depression have resulted in rising number of suicides among army men, a surge in juniors shooting their senior officials.

Arpitha Anand, a clinical psychologist at YourDOST, said: “A majority of army men suffer from three major symptoms of depression – low mood or irritability, lack of interest or pleasure and fatigue. The remaining show other symptoms like weight loss or gain, change in appetite, change in sleeping pattern, suicidal tendency, poor concentration and helplessness. This results in alcohol, smoking and other drug abuse and fratricide.”

“All they need to do is share problems with others, counselling each other, helping each other out with a solution and finally cheering each other up.”

Source: TOI
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