Helping kids deal with depression

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According to the World Health Organisation, about 200 million people in India suffer from depression. Twenty-two-year-old Kairavi Bharat Ram is one of them. And she is on a mission to help others like her.

“I was a typical happy child who started having panic attacks. When I began talking about it, we realised it was something bigger. I took a gap year and then two more as I was in bad shape. For three years, I tried so many different medicines, different therapies. I consulted doctors in India and abroad but at the end of the day what helped me was the knowledge that there are other people like me who are battling depression and I am not alone in this. I decided to write a book. So that I too can reach out to people like me and help them in some way,” said Ram, who is better now but still has good and bad days.

Ram chose to write the book on depression — C is for Cat, D is for Depression — in verse, accompanied with illustrations by Priya Kuriyan. Though aimed at children, Ram said anybody who suffers from this mental illness characterised by feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed can read it to feel that he or she is not alone in this. Ram, a makeup blogger, was diagnosed with depression when she was 17 years old and studying in class 12.

Ram said when she used to visit her therapist, she would see children younger than her waiting for their session. “In my sessions, I would use a lot of metaphors to explain how I am feeling. My therapist would often write them down so that she could use them with her other patients. It’s from there that I got the idea of this book. I have explained depression and what it feels like using metaphors so that it’s easy for children to understand,” said Ram.

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