Indians not the most depressed: Health Ministry

New Delhi: The Health ministry today rejected media reports which cited a WHO-sponsored study to claim that Indians were the most depressed in the world.

After conducting a thorough analysis of the report titled "Cross-national Epidemiology of DSM-IV Major Depressive Episode (MDE)", published in BMC Medicine Journal, top Health ministry officials Thursday said the media reports, which suggested that Indians as the most depresssed globally, "were gross misprepresentation of the data in the WHO Study."

In an elaborate clarification issued today, the Ministry said the lifetime prevalence of depression among Indians, that too among the respondents from Pondicherry (now Puducherry) - the only area covered by the WHO report, was just 9 per cent
and not 36 per cent, as claimed by the news reports.

"The reports in the media are based on complete misrepresentation of the facts and picked up after wrongly reading the columns in the survey data," said a ministry
release issued here today.

"The figure of 12 month prevalence (4.5 per cent) and lifetime prevalence (9 per cent) of MDE in India is not representative of the country as this figure is based upon the
study data of Puducherry which has different socio-demographic indicators compared to rest of the India. Hence, the findings of the study cannot be generalised to the whole country," the release stated.

Health officials said, "The sample is too limited to arrive at as grave a conclusion as drawn by certain media reports. In fact, the incidence of depression in India is much
less than even countries in South-East Asia, let alone the world."

Compared to other countries, the life time prevalence of MDE in India (9 per cent) is among the lowest in the world (range: 6.5 per cent (China) ? 21 per cent (France), they stated.

The articles were based on reports of a scientific study published in the Journal Biomed Central and the data was based on the multicentric Epidemiological study conducted in India as part of World Mental Health Survey of WHO.

This study was commissioned by the DGHS/MoHFW and was undertaken in 11 centres all over the country. The report of this study is not yet published.

However, as part of the research, various cross country articles have been published in the scientific journals based on the data collected by countries which participated in the World Mental Health Survey, the government release stated.

The 12 month prevalence of MDE in India be having the MDE currently i.e. during the last one year and thus requiring treatment.


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