A recent study published by the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital has revealed that nearly 100 people in Vietnam commit suicide due to depression on a daily basis, shedding light on the devastating role mental illness can play in local communities.
Depression is on the rise in Vietnam, accompanied by the many consequences the condition can have on suffering individuals, their families, and the community.
More and more young people are falling victim to depression in recent years, including a 21-year old senior university student currently being treated at the mental health institute of Bach Mai Hospital.
The patient’s previously happy and sociable demeanor began to deteriorate shortly after she broke up with her boyfriend and the problems were only exacerbated by extreme pressure from school work.
By the time she was diagnosed with severe depression at Bach Mai Hospital, she was sleeping less than four hours a day and wasn’t able to eat, resulting in losing four kilograms over a period of only six weeks.
She recounted that she often cried alone, questioned the meaning of life, and was having suicidal thoughts.
According to Duong Minh Tam, a senior doctor at the facility, the number of people suffering from depression is increasing rapidly.
Fifteen years ago the infirmary was receiving about one or two patients per day, said Dr. Tam said, adding that daily admittance in the ward now tops 200, many of whom are suffering from serious stages of the illness.
Two groups of patients who are most likely to be affected by the mental disease are teenagers and retired citizens between 55 and 65 years old, according to the expert.
Most patients are diagnosed with the conditions in the later stages with more severe symptoms, he continued, adding that many also give up in the middle of their treatment.
Tam attributed the problem to the negative effects of the modern life on the human psychology.
People who go through a divorce, breakup, prolonged unemployment, physical or sexual abuse, are often more susceptible to the condition, and women are twice as likely as men to suffer depression, he added.
According to Nguyen Doan Phuong, head of the mental health institute, common symptoms are boredom, emptiness, loss of focus, exhaustion, memory loss, insomnia, short-temper, decrease in interest, extreme weight loss, and suicidal tendency.
Dr. Phuong says depression patients should be willing to open up to others, and keeping negativity to oneself for extended period of time can easily lead to stress and depression, said Dr. Phuong.
Dr. Tam added that the society should be more empathetic to people with depression as many patients have shied away from receiving treatment due to fears of judgment.
Practicing sport like yoga, swimming, or football is also a good approach to ease effects from the mental disorder, Tam added.