“Ha! I’m unfazed. This content is definitely not for me”. If you’re someone with the same mindset, I’d suggest you take a look. Although mental health is a topic most people “don’t relate to”, it is the need of the hour today.
In today’s world where many heads turn towards the current trend in fashion, the tiktok videos andwhat not, the concept of mental health goes overlooked. From the extreme ancient practices of shamans exorcizing the mentally ill and drilling a hole in the skull, the attitude about mental health has indeed evolved. Although, it’s likely that we see conversations about mental health starting to show itself up on social media platforms and other public forums, the stigma and prejudices attached to it exists till date. It is still a “taboo” for most of the population today.
“Counseling and therapy is for the crazies” is a dialogue we’ve all been accustomed hearing to for many generations. However, statistics talk a completely different narrative altogether. According to a survey, the Indian population contributes to nearly 15 percent of the mental health issues globally.
To dampen one’s spirits even more, many people who suffer from some form of mental illness are not even aware of their illness and its impacts in their lives. The unfortunate custom of dusting off emotions and neglecting to acknowledge them has pitched in to make the condition worse.
And for exactly these reasons, the conversation about mental health has to be prioritized and brought to awareness at a global level. It is indeed unfortunate to encounter losing many lives every year to this monster hidden behind the human mind. Research shows that a whopping eight lakh people die every year due to some form of mental illnesses and only a quarter or half of this population seek professional help and get treated.
The stigma and misconceptions about therapy revolves around the dichotomous thinking patterns that people tend to possess. The either extremes of “I’m not mental to seek therapy” and “therapy is for the rich and luxurious” have taken it all down the drain. However, it is important to normalize the concept of mental health because it is like any other need that men experience. Like how having a runny nose or a temperature is not something that one might be kept away or isolated for, mental health issues are fundamentally the same as the former.
One may wonder why such an emphasis has to be placed on mental health in the first place. “Man is mind; mind is man”. One cannot function optimally without a sound mind. A good mental health can contribute to the overall wellness of life, helps increase productivity (academic and professional), improve interpersonal relationships, coping mechanisms, problem solving skills, better emotional regulation etc.
Stigma hinders the society from looking ahead and initiating the necessary steps to promote and raise awareness about the essence of mental health. As a community, efforts should be made to shatter the stigma by allowing the members of the community to get insight into the basics of mental health and illnesses. Knowledge pertaining to handling such situations happening to themselves and their close ones should also be imparted.
As individuals, we can all contribute in our own ways to make mental health available for people from all levels of the society.
- Use social media platform as a tool to spread awareness about the importance of mental health.
- Be empathetic and listen when someone wishes to open up.
- Be respectful of people’s emotions although it may not seem relatable.
- Engage in activities that refresh you and lift your spirits (eg, reading, dancing, gardening, sports, painting or anything at all that you enjoy doing).
- Encourage those in distress to seek out professional help.
- Talk about your feelings to someone you trust.
- Try learning a few self-help strategies to help yourself and others who may experience mental health issues.
- Avoid making comments, remarks or mock and belittle someone who shares their personal story.
- Understand that it is okay to not be your best self at times and to feel low and gloomy.
- Give equal importance to your mental health as that of your physical health.
- Gather your friends and family and talk about mental health, create a safe space and encourage them to share their stories of strength and resilience (confidentiality is a must).
- Above everything, be accepting and kind of yourself and allow yourself to feel good in your own shoes and ensure to treat others the same way.
Every small step that we take will turn out to be a huge leap in making mental health a global reality.