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+91 97401 44286 205 Alphanso Estate, 5 Mangoe Lane, Kolkata
“Your mind matters, talk about it”
We live in a busy world today, don’t we? A mad race, a cruel and unhealthy competition between people to get recognized as the ‘best’ of all others. Have we ever paused in our lives for a second, for ‘self- introspection’? Physically, we may seem to be perfectly fit. But our mental health? Is it stable every time? Shouldn’t we devote some time to improve our mental health? Oh, who cares about one’s mental health anyway? Mental health is and should be, according to the mainstream society, be talked about in a hush- hush manner. Nobody has even the slightest of idea of how much one’s mental health deteriorates with increased work pressure, and intense surroundings. From the scratch, people have been mum about this topic. For 2017, a study done by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, estimates that 792 million people lived with a mental health disorder. This is slightly more than one in ten people, globally (10.7%). Mental health disorders are complex and can take many forms. Mental heath disorders remain widely under-reported. This is true across all countries, but particularly at lower incomes where data is scarcer, and there is less attention and treatment for mental health disorders. Such mental anguish causes people to get secluded from the rest of the world, even from their family members. They get into denial mode, and become covert. Slowly, they start ignoring their hygiene, which is an additional stress factor for the person, as it causes dangerous bodily damage. People’s appetite changes and so do sleeping patterns. Mental health disorders are among leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India, but a systematic understanding of their prevalence, disease burden, and risk factors is not readily available for each state of India. This study ‘The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: The Global Burden of Disease Study 1990- 2017’ describes the prevalence and disease burden of each mental disorder for the states of India, from 1990 to 2017. In 2017, 197.3 million people had mental disorders in India including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9 million with anxiety disorders. The study found that 1 in 7 Indians were affected by mental disorders of varying severity in 2017. The proportional contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India has almost doubled since 1990. The Bengaluru based, NIMHANS study, ‘Mental Health Issues in India: Concerns and Response’ by Mala Kapur Shankardass (2016-2016) in 12 states, covering 34, 802 people, reveals, 10% of the population has common mental disorders and 1.9% of the population suffers from severe mental disorders like Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Psychosis, Phobia, Suicide, Stress related disorders, and many other disorders are becoming increasingly common problems. This report also warned that with urbanization, the burden of mental health problems on the society is expected to increase. People in the surrounding deliberately, tend to overlook the signs shown by one needing help. Of course, people having intense mental anguish, behave in a manner which un-akin to societal norms, but that doesn’t mean, we have any right to take it for granted. For others, such ones are termed “pagal”, in the Indian society. Now the big question is where do these people de-stress themselves? Well, some would say “go to a therapist or a psychiatrist or a psychologist, etc., etc.” but when it comes to really meeting one, people hesitate a million times. Even if the person seeking help, wants to visit the right place to solve the complication, “what will the society think of me?” pops up in his/her head, stopping them from taking a positive leap towards life, to solve the grave issue. If the right step is not taken at the right time and is neglected for long, the situation becomes extreme in nature and thence, more difficult to cure, causing more harm to the person. There are a lot of stereotypes and stigmas in the world, which need to be rectified and be looked upon with more subtlety. Mental health/ illness is one such stigmatized topic. People are becoming more aware, definitely, about the importance of mental health and promoting its significance. But it still hasn’t still reached as a topic of concern to many. The awareness is increasing, but it needs time to reach to the mass. It’s one issue that needs more awareness to be spread, so that more people can readily and openly and boldly seek help. There are so many people who are afraid to go to a therapist, or a counselor, as there’s fright of being given the tag of “pagal”, “mental”, “disabled”, etc. Is mocking at someone like that, who’s going through a hard time, even morally or humanely alright? It’s difficult to even think of how the other person, already fighting their own demons, might feel. This additional stress of not being able to reach out to the needful, causes more anxiety in people actually needing help. People become suicidal just because they have nowhere to go to, no one to talk to, no one to listen to, in their darkest hours. They live in a constant fear of being judged and marginalized by and in the society. There is a lack of emotional, mental, inner peace, which is the prime reason for people’s stress and aggression, today. People need to spare time for themselves, and engage in self-talk, self- introspection. It might sound vague to many, but it does help. This is very essential for our personal growth. Believe it or not, a lot of this also has to do with self-actualization, and personal-spiritual growth. If you feel however that something is just not right, something doesn’t feel good with you, or something’s eating you from the inside, please talk reach out. If you know someone who isn’t feeling alright, help them reach out. There are many who qualify as mental health practitioners, dedicating their life to helping people come out of things that hold them down in life. People can reach out to them, without the fear of being judged. It’s a safe platform for self-exploration. Therapy allows people to become conflict-free. Please remove all the stigmas from your mind about mental health/ illness. Don’t give a crap about what society thinks. You are important, that’s what matters. Your life has a meaning. This will surely harmonize the relationship people have, with each other making this world better place to live in. “Your mind matters, talk about it”. Don’t be hesitant in talking about it. You matter, your life matters. It is because life is worth living for, and you are one of a kind. If there is anyone who is reading this article at this moment, and feels that there’s something that’s eating them from the inside, or that they might need to talk things out, but cannot, because of the people out there in the society who are going to judge them, pass mean comments on them, even if it’s a minute issue, do speak up, confidently, about it. Do yourself a favor by giving yourself a chance to take a positive step in life, by paying a visit to the needful, for your inner repressed feelings and emotions can be eased by catharsis, to alleviate the burdened mind and soul, and thence lead a blissful life. People who are intellectually deficient are not “pagal”. They sure behave in a certain manner, but it doesn’t mean they’re nobodies. Let’s start accepting individuality. Be confident and seek help. Society will change, their mindset will change. It all starts with one person initially. by Anwesha Sen (Intern at LetSmile)