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Apollo Hospitals and Live Love Laugh Foundation Press Conference

Apollo Hospitals has partnered with The Live Love Laugh Foundation to raise awareness on Mental Health via the foundation’s “Together Against Depression” programme designed for doctors. This was announced by Dr K Hari Prasad , President - Hospital Division, Apollo Hospitals; Dr Shyam Bhat , Trustee – The Live Love Laugh Foundation and Dr J Srikanth , Sr. Consultant - Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals; at a press conference on Thursday, on the eve of World Health Day - April 7th, 2017, with this year's theme being 'Depression.' Through this tie-up the Live Love Laugh Foundation will conduct programs and sensitise over 1200 General Physicians from Apollo Hospitals across the country on issues of mental health and how to handle such patients, as General Physicians are the primary and often the only touch point for most of those affected by depression.      

According to WHO, Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life. It causes mental anguish and impacts one's ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. It is essential to recognize that it is treatable, talking therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of these. 

The stigma surrounding mental disorders often restricts individuals from opening up, talking and seeking remedy. Therefore it is imperative to raise community awareness and break down the taboo, to help those affected by depression and the initiative aims to accomplish that. 

The following statistics depict the grim scenario associated with depression in our country and Telangana 

  • 4.5% of the Indian population suffers from Depression (WHO, 2015).
  • 3 out of 100 residents in urban areas are suffering from depression
  • 36% Indians are likely to suffer from depression at some point in their lives (WHO)
  • An average of 371 suicides happen per day in India (The National Crime Bureau)
  • It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.
  • The suicide rate in Telangana is amongst the highest in the country with 26 persons of every lakh of State’s population are resorting to suicide.
  • 42.5% of corporate employees suffer from Depression (ASSOCHAM Report)
  • According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 5% of the working-age population is affected by a severe mental health                               condition and a further 15% by a more common one such as depression or anxiety.
  • The direct and indirect costs of mental health problems can be in excess of 4% of GDP.
  • Nearly 38.5% of corporate employees sleep less than 6 hours a day, causing anxiety and affecting mental health in the long term. 

Through the conduct of this sensitization programme, Apollo Hospitals’ 7000-strong clinician workforce will lead the way to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health and depression, with the aim of ultimately encouraging people going through tough times to seek help. 

A not-for-profit organization with a focus on mental health awareness, The Live Love Laugh Foundation , led by its founder Ms. Deepika Padukone , has already conducted the programme for over 2,000 doctors around the country over the last 12 months. the program is being scaled up further to reach a target 5000 doctors in this year. 

Speaking on the occasion Dr Hari Prasad said, there is a significant lack of awareness about depression amongst medical professionals, which inhibits such persons getting medical attention. The objective of this collaboration is to empower the General Physicians with adequate knowledge and skills to counsel the patients on ways to come out of depression, as often the General Physician is the first point of contact for those with depression.  The theme for this years’ World Health Day is Depression. The collaborative program with The Live Love Laugh Foundation is aimed to raise awareness about mental health issues and ensure that Doctors, the first line of defense, are prepared. Many individuals go through stress and anxiety related to work and personal life, a doctor is well equipped to direct the patient towards the required help.  Any chronic condition may heighten the risk of a patient developing symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. A doctor is a trusted health partner and will be able to channel the patient towards help. He said, those in the age group of 30 to 49 are more prone to depression and is one of the major causes of suicide amongst them. 20% of children and adolescents suffer from depression and they don't know how to handle it, communicate about it. There is lot of stigma attached to even talking about depression. If the problem is left unaddressed, it can lead to a major disaster in future, Dr Hari Prasad, added.

 Medical practitioners can be the core of the fight against depression as they are often the primary touch point for those affected. The importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery and can be initiated by them. Doctors can play a vital role to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, which remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world. ‘Together Against Depression’ will equip doctors with the right skills and resources to be key influencers in the fight against depression, said Dr. Shyam Bhat , Trustee – The Live Love Laugh Foundation. 80% of those who committed suicide did see a physician before they committed suicide, he added. He said, through their community outreach program 'You are not alone', the Foundation is reaching out to students and teachers, already 32000 students in 200 plus schools have been sensitised. 

Dr J Srikanth said, as a physician I thought my role was limited in addressing depression, but this program sensitises me on the pivotal role a physician plays in identifying someone in that condition and adequately addressing the problem. We can bring about a positive feeling, drive away the negative feelings in him and help him come out of it.   

The programme which will be rolled out across the locations of Apollo Hospitals around the country, will coverage a range of topics related to depression and its incidence, screening and treatment. The program participants will also receive material such as videos, articles, quizzes and handouts for easy reference.

About Apollo Hospitals

It was in 1983, that Dr. Prathap Reddy made a pioneering endeavor by launching India’s first corporate hospital - Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Now, as Asia largest and most trusted healthcare group, its presence includes more than 10000 beds across 65 Hospitals, 2000 Pharmacies, 92 Primary Care and Diagnostic Clinics, 100 Telemedicine units across 10 countries. Health Insurance services, Global Projects Consultancy, 15 colleges of Nursing and Hospital Management and a Research Foundation with a focus on global Clinical Trials, epidemiological studies, stem cell & genetic research and the first Proton Therapy Center across Asia, Africa and Australia. 

In a rare honor, the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in recognition of Apollo's contribution, the first for a healthcare organization. Apollo Hospitals Chairman, Dr. Prathap C Reddy, was conferred with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2010. For more than 30 years, the Apollo Hospitals Group has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, world-class clinical services and cutting-edge technology. Our hospitals are consistently ranked amongst the best hospitals globally for advanced medical services and research.  

About The Live Love Laugh Foundation

The Live Love Laugh Foundation was set up in 2015 as a Charitable Trust to champion the cause of mental health in India and focus on depression in particular. The main aim of TLLLF is to reduce social stigma and create awareness around mental health. TLLLF has spread awareness on mental health via the foundation’s English / Hindi website ( www.thelivelovelaughfoundation.org / www.thelivelovelaughfoundation.org/hi ), extensive engagement via the foundation’s social media channels, outreach to various print, TV, radio and digital media outlets, and by undertaking several on-ground activities such as a mental health awareness program (“You Are Not Alone”) for school students and teachers which has been already conducted more than 230+ schools, reaching more than 32,000 students and 6,700 teachers around the country. The foundation’s sensitization program on mental health for doctors (“Together Against Depression”) has so far covered more than 2,000 doctors. The Live Love Laugh Foundation launched the country’s first nationwide public awareness campaign on mental health, the widely acclaimed DoobaraPoocho ,on October 10 th 2016, World Mental Health Day.

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