Closing the Depression Treatment Gap in India, on Motorbikes

According to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization, India has highest rate of depression in the world, with 36 percent percent of the population reporting a major depressive episode. However, the entire nation only has around 3,500 trained psychiatrists—or, one for every 200,000 to 300,000 people—which has created a large treatment gap. To mitigate the issue, Dr. Vikram Patel co-founded Sangath, an NGO that trains anyone with a high-school degree to recognize symptoms of depression and administer counseling treatment. The therapists ride motorbikes to difficult-to-reach areas in Goa and provide home-based counseling to patients, as this short film by the Thomson Reuters Foundation explains. The program mirrors a global reaction to treating depression, as the WHO estimates that depression is on track to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020.