Si­lent killer

Pop­u­lar ac­tor/singer’s death draws at­ten­tion to de­pres­sion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@chi­

The death of a pop­u­lar ac­tor and singer, rooted in de­pres­sion, has stirred pub­lic at­ten­tion and drawn calls from med­i­cal ex­perts for bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the con­di­tion.

Qiao Ren­liang, 28, was found dead at an apart­ment in Shang­hai on Fri­day, the po­lice said on­line, rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity of foul play. The case is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the state­ment said.

Warner Mu­sic China, with which Qiao had signed a con­tract, re­leased a state­ment say­ing Qiao was de­pressed last year and suf­fered from in­som­nia for sev­eral years. He tried med­i­ca­tion in re­cent months and saw some im­prove­ment, Warner said.

Qiao was an up­beat per­son­al­ity, and many of his col­leagues were not aware that he suf­fered from de­pres­sion, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

He had 10.8 mil­lion fol­low­ers on his so­cial me­dia ac­count, which noted that he had won a na­tional singing com­pe­ti­tion or­ga­nized by a lo­cal TV station in 2005 and had acted in sev­eral pop­u­lar TV se­ries.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, be­tween 1990 and 2013, the num­ber of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety world­wide in­creased by nearly 50 per­cent to 615 mil­lion, which means that close to 10 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion is af­fected.

De­pres­sion is a men­tal dis­or­der char­ac­ter­ized by sad­ness, loss of in­ter­est or plea­sure, feel­ings of guilt or low self-worth, dis­turbed sleep, loss of ap­petite, over­all tired­ness and poor con­cen­tra­tion; and it may lead to sui­cide, the WHO said.

Yang Lei, a psy­chi­a­trist at Pek­ing Univer­sity Sixth Hospi­tal, said de­pres­sion often oc­curs in fam­i­lies. It also af­fects peo­ple suf­fer­ing from se­ri­ous dis­abil­i­ties, such as those caused by stroke.

“Those who show symp­toms of de­pres­sion should see a doc­tor quickly,” he said, adding that peo­ple prone to de­pres­sion can take pre­ven­tive med­i­ca­tion or seek psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing. “De­pres­sion is an ex­pe­ri­ence of low spirit. It’s not com­mon. Most peo­ple have no such ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “It is dif­fer­ent from more com­mon ex­pe­ri­ences such as tired­ness or in­som­nia.”

To re­duce de­pres­sion, the whole so­ci­ety, not just doc­tors, should work to elim­i­nate its causes, Yang said. Ef­forts should in­clude poverty re­lief, help­ing the dis­abled and re­duc­ing pres­sure.

“Public­ity is also im­por­tant to give the pub­lic more knowl­edge,” he said.

There are about 17 mil­lion peo­ple with men­tal dis­or­ders in China, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the China Sleep Re­search So­ci­ety.

Qiao Ren­liang

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