One can’t stress enough on the fact that mental health is as important as physical health and it is undeniably true for most of us that we overlook mental health as much as it should be taken care of!
Sadly, this part of our health is not even recognized as being a part of our wellbeing and it’s even more sad to know that mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year.
People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children or work in the next cubicle!
Here’s proof to it. The WHO states that India is a country with the highest prevalence rates of depression in the world. Over 56 million people suffer from depression and an additional 38 suffer from anxiety-related disorders.
What’s more alarming is that about 80% of people with these issues do not seek treatment or therapy!!
Stigma affects not only the number seeking treatment but also the number of resources available for proper treatment. The fear of being disowned by people or the dread of being tormented by society are examples of why many people hesitate to speak up on these issues. Apart from all this, there is also a cultural aspect as we as Indians do not seek therapy.
Here are a few examples.
Firstly, mental health is largely misunderstood in Indian society. Often, families view mental illness among its members as something that stains the family’s reputation or dignity. The individuals tend to neglect their problems for the fright of being viewed as weak or fundamentally flawed. Also, most problems are seen as the individual’s intentional behavior and the possibility of a restless mind or stressed mental health is totally ruled out.
For instance, a person suffering from anxiety or depression may lose interest in daily activities or other commitments but this behavior is often perceived as a lack of familial values and ideals or as the so-called “bad behavior.”
In addition to this, a strong belief in concepts like “Karma” leads people to believe that such problems are an individual’s way of atonement for past “sins” or “misdeeds”, especially among the rural population. In some places, people suffering from mental illnesses are often looked at as being possessed or bring evil and spiritual advisors, folk doctors, and elders in the family are consulted for “treatment” instead of medical intervention.
Religion is not to be blamed here at all but lack of awareness and information prevents people from seeking clinical help.
Parents play the role of guides and advisors to their children and other youngsters in the family even in their adult life and they feel insecure and consider it their failure when they feel seek help outside. Mental health is no exception to the tradition of consulting older family members for decision making and they discount specialized intervention due to lack of awareness.
Listing all these reasons makes it very evident that most of the problems surrounding mental health issues are caused due to misunderstanding the concept of mental health.
This calls for the need to spread awareness in our own small ways.
It could be a small post on social media or a casual conversation among friends but it might just help someone in a way we can’t even imagine!!
Having people see one as an individual and not as their illness can make an immense difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health and that will be the greatest help we can do for them!!
So let’s all do our part to make the world a better place for all those who are suffering due to these problems in our own humble ways because little drops make the mighty ocean.
And there’s no better time to begin because May is Mental Health Awareness month!
I really hope you all liked this article and wish that you’ll do your part to spread awareness.
Until I see you next week with a new post…Toodles!!