Positivity rate is down, but don’t go mental just yet!

As the positivity rate comes down, are people going into depression?  Does it mean that people in India are more depressed?  After all, positivity is an important factor in mental health!

Why should we be concerned? According to a study conducted for the NCMH (National Care of Medical Health) reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is the most depressed country in the world, followed by China and the USA. India, China, and the US are the most affected countries by anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, according to WHO.  Who says it is important, not what is said – or is it both?

According to the study, at least 6.5 percent of the Indian population suffers from some form of serious mental disorder, with no discernible rural-urban differences. The only difference is the electricity, roads, schools, and the internet. The average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh people and most people who commit suicide are below 44 years of age. Shocking, isn’t it?

Though there are effective measures and treatments, there is an extreme shortage of mental health workers like psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors. As reported latest in 2014, it was as low as ”one in 100,000 people”. That statistic must have improved by now and even more so in the last two years, as there are no exams to speak of.

Beyond depression, Indians, in general, are an unhappy lot – India ranks 139 out of 149 on the index of happiness according to the World Happiness Report 2021. So, there is unhappiness aplenty – but is it because our brains are the smallest in the world?  Why this question?

Researchers including those from IIIT Hyderabad developed the first Indian human brain atlas which revealed that India has some of the smallest brains in the world. The study found that there is a significant difference in the shape and size of the brain between Indians, Chinese, Koreans, and Caucasians. In fact, the brain size of Indians is smaller in height, width, and volume in comparison with the western and other eastern populations.

The study, published in the journal Neuroscience India, was a collaborative effort by researchers Raghav Mehta from McGill University in Canada, Jayanthi Sivaswamy and Alphin J Thottupattu from the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, and R Sheelakumari and Chandrasekharan Kesavadas from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Kerala.

Small brains are an unlikely cause of unhappiness, because we have also, the sharpest ones in the world – we can find a loophole where there is none, create a complex web of laws that are meant to regulate, but are always chocolate to one section of the people or the other and create a sense of anxiety about something that we want to be a cause of anxiety for our own goals. Chocolate always heightens happiness – so a small brain cannot be the cause of the unhappiness – it must be something else – searching for the cause might keep us happy and less anxious for a while I guess.

Anxiety is aplenty – because questions abound…what will the next announcement at 8 PM bring? what will happen to me if I tweet like the bird in my backyard about the bird in someone else’s? what if I express dissent outside my marriage? will I ever get the experience of going to school, making new friends, writing an exam, and bringing home (in fear) my report card? Will Covid attack me frontally or now that I’ve made my choice of vaccine and paid for it from my meager and dwindling resources, or will it attack me sideways? will I have to go back to the office now? how will I cope in the office without my spouse being around me telling me what to do all the time? How will I dress from head to toe, when I’ve thrown away all my pants because they no longer fit and were no longer required on Zoom? And how will I learn to put up a pretence of enjoying my work?

Thank God though for the mask – it covers up more than my mouth for me! Enough for me to become Bi-polar – one personality outside and one at home!  The transition though could be rough – another cause for anxiety! And Social Distancing – I was unused to it before Corona and having stayed at home so long- even more so after Corona! Will I lose my sense of touch like I did my sense of smell and taste during my attack on Corona? And the media does not speak about Good Touch and Bad Touch anymore. I guess – They are out of touch!

But beyond Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder, are the voices I hear telling me to fill up my vehicle’s petrol tank every day; that I might save a rupee or two with which I can buy a bit of a coin – which raises another question – should I or should I not? Maybe in the end I won’t get my bit out of it but be bit…. Are these voices real or am I schizophrenic?

Anxiety is not depression and is quite natural in an unnatural world, but it can progress as quickly as Covid spreads to the lungs without an invitation! So, what is this depression caused by? Hopefully not suppression or repression, though there’s that to consider too – that would be Piling it on when the pressure gets too much if you get the drift.

But there are other factors to consider. The rise in Petrol and Internet costs perhaps? The latter depresses during a lockdown and the former after the lockdown is lifted. Then they combine to reduce lives to one of Hallucination – of being somewhere while staying at home.

Internet packages come and go suddenly – there was a covid 19 pack with free vaccination (one dose only – you’ve got to muster your own resources to take the second one, once you receive the first one – something like a bank loan – you take one and can’t pay it back – they give you another one to keep you going in the hope that one day, they will be rewarded with a payback!) That pack was replaced with a Post Lockdown pack that like the face pack has already washed off!

When Virat reaches a century everybody in India cheers so loud that Twitter dare not call it manipulated, but we don’t hear the crowd, (there are a few exceptions of course, like always) cheering for Petrol and Diesel when they crossed the milestone recently. Maybe the crowd is waiting for a double century?

Fuel Prices seem to have a will of their own – they are upwardly mobile, with great aspirations to reach Rs: 200 per litre. (Having been in the 70s for a long time, they must be seeing the ball very well) And they are continually active – everyday they exercise their muscles to stay strong – except during an election when they strictly follow the model price code – no variations at all!

So, people are caught on the wrong foot (thankfully, don’t have to use it too much) whenever they drive – They tend to idle more than drive, or they drive around in circles – There’s no parking as parking basements have been converted to shopping malls, there more one-way streets than stairways to heaven, and commuters find themselves in a perpetual roundabout. If that is not a cause for depression for the driven population, well what is? But there’s one section of the people, who must be seeing red more than they do the real colours of the world – those in the transportation sector who are caught between a rock and hard place. They cannot raise their ticket prices/freight prices daily based on the billboard at a petrol pump! Can they? 

So, a loot of causes for un-happiness and un-mental health – Will a change of mentality help? Maybe it will… the positivity rate will go up and that can have a cascading effect – which one? You choose!


This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Noupload

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is VO artist, Content Writer, Ad Copy Writer, a very productive author with a wide and varied output, an EQ and Leadership Trainer, a life skills Coach, a manager and a leader, with a visible track record. Brian is currently a Director of the Spearhead Media Pvt. Ltd, a Media Company that owns and runs media brands www.newskarnataka.com, www.newskannada.com, Karnataka Today, NK+ and NKTv a web based video channel, Verdevice - a Branding powerhouse and Spearhead Academy - a digital platform that offers short term learning solutions for personal growth Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 35 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. He is NET Certified for lectureship and has recently qualified as MEPSC Level 5 Trainer. Journalism , poetry, and Fiction and Feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. Its all in a day’s work for him. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangalore and Bangalore. He is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of the Toastamasters.org and is a designated Distinguished Toast Master. He is also the Internal Quality council member of his Alma Mater Roshni Nilaya and a member of the Board of Studies of the English Department, St. Agnes College for PG studies, Mangalore.

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