The Invisible Battle
Death is not the only casualty of war. Conflict and militarisation has lead to massive trauma and extreme levels of stress for the survivors in Kashmir.
Kashmir is not only the world's most militarised zone, it is also the most depressed. Over 45% of adults living in the valley are suffering from mental stress. The conflict has taken a toll on the civilian population as well as soldiers beyond the numbers of deaths. Amongst the top sufferers of psychological trauma related to conflict are rural women. Post Traumatic Stress Dissorder (PTSD) rate is the highest found anywhere else in the world.
1.8Million adults have significant symptoms of mental distress. 47% of women have signs of depression.
1 in 5 adults (19%, 771,000 individuals) are living with significant PTSD symptoms, 6% meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
1.6Million adults are living with significant symptoms of depression. 10% (415,000) meet all the diagnostic criteria for severe depression.
Mental Illness Among Women
Mental Illness Among Men
Talking about mental or psychological health is considered a taboo in this part of the world. The only image of a psychological patient is that of a person in a mental asylum. There is lack of awareness and the illness is brushed aside under the carpet. The massive scale of the problem makes it more complicated.
Reaching out for help by the huge affected population in such a scenario is difficult. Many people prefer not to seek help due to the stigma attached to seeing a psychiatrist. Those who are looking for help suffer due to lack of infrastructure. Bringing the attention of policy makers to the scale of the problem and bridging the gap between the help seekers and helpers is the mission.