Celebrity suicide draws attention to depression

Coco Lee Man Photo: VCG

Coco Lee Man Photo: VCG

The suicide of famous Chinese-American singer-songwriter Coco Lee Man after a long battle with depression caused a stir on Chinese social media, putting the spotlight on “smiling depression”, a form of depression in which a person feels anxious but hides with a fake happy face.

“Coco, you were a star born with excellent talent and unique personal style, your voice, dance and bright smile impress so many people. You have given so much to the world. Another star goes to heaven now, and I wish there was no more sickness or pain for you. Rest in peace,” wrote Hong Kong action film superstar Jackie Chan in a Sina Weibo post on July 6 to mourn Lee.

The news of Lee taking her own life shocked fans, who kept flooding Lee’s Weibo account to say goodbye to their beloved artist who has always impressed the audience with big smiles and positive energy.

One fan said, “I hope this is fake news. Coco, you fought for yourself, you are a warrior.” Her last post on her account was made on May 20th to support her new song: Fight for Yourself.

“Even though Coco sought professional help and did her best to battle her depression, unfortunately that demon inside her got the better of her,” Lee’s family wrote in a statement Wednesday.

According to media reports, Lee had marital problems several years ago, which led to the development of depression despite his naturally cheerful disposition. She made constant efforts to seek treatment, often plunging into work to lift her spirits, but her condition deteriorated rapidly of late until she took her own life at home on July 2.

It is difficult for the public to notice the symptoms of ‘smiling depression’ patients, but people close to patients would notice as there must be changes in patients’ reactions to the outside world, Zhang Kan, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology, l ‘Chinese Academy of Sciences, he told the Global Times on Thursday.

But after all, the development of depression is not necessarily related to disposition. “The cause of depression has not yet been clearly revealed. Some people may experience depression after their brain has been severely damaged, while others may experience depression after significant life changes,” explained Zhang.

“Why do people who smile a lot also suffer from depression?” “What can we do about depression?” and “Do you really know depression?” are some of the topics discussed in social media posts in China.

Depressive disorder (also known as depression) is a common mental disorder. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

The prevalence of depression in China is also high, with more than 95 million Chinese suffering from the disease, according to a mental health survey of Chinese citizens published in The Lancet in September 2021.

However, more than 90% of people surveyed with depressive disorders in China do not seek treatment, and only 0.5% received adequate treatment, according to the survey.

The fact that many Chinese people have difficulty expressing emotions (alexithymia) may be one of the causes of this condition, the experts pointed out, referring to other possible reasons such as inadequate medical resources and the long period and high cost of treating the disease. .

So far, China has about 40,000 registered psychiatrists, while the number of people with mental disorders is estimated to exceed 200 million, media reported in December 2022.

The Global Times has learned from some psychiatric hospitals that a course of psychotherapy for depression in Beijing hospitals costs nearly 10,000 yuan, and patients have to wait about one to two months for psychological counseling.

Current antidepressants are effective, but some patients switch or stop taking the pills without psychiatrist guidance when they think they are feeling better. Furthermore, in addition to drugs, society and families need to work together to help patients overcome the disease, Zhang noted.

Zhang called for greater social recognition of depression. Society should become aware of the seriousness of the disease while understanding that it is a common disease and can be treated, she noted. She also suggested including antidepressants in the health insurance system to increase drug affordability.

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Image Source : www.globaltimes.cn

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