Did you know according to a report by WHO, 7.5% of India’s population suffers from mental health issues with only about 30% getting the necessary treatment? These numbers alone are a proof of how irrelevant this relevant topic is made to be.
So, let’s talk about this “taboo” topic. Mental Health.
Think for a minute. What do you know about it? Is it enough? If you were to meet a mentally ill person, would you be able to know instantly? Do you think what you know are facts or just mere stereotypes of what a mentally ill person is portrayed to be?
What exactly is mental health? Is it important?
Well, mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. It can affect one’s daily life, relationships, and even physical health.
Having a mental disorder or being mentally ill is much more dangerous than being physically unhealthy. When one is physically unwell, they know something is wrong. They know what’s hurting. With a few diagnosis, one can know the exact root of the problem. But with mental illness, one constantly feels this underlying restlessness. They know something is just not right but to pinpoint exactly what is wrong is a hard task because there is no exact problem.
Mental illness is not spontaneous. It is built over years after years. There is no medication that can cure the problem. It is not like a physical pain where you wake up one day and find it gone. It stays with you for as long as you know, creeping upto you in both happy and sad moments. It is there when you are with your friends and family and also clinged on to you when you are alone, away from the world.
What are the different types of mental illnesses?
For those who just got to know that there are also different types of mental illnesses, please read on. We need more people being aware of this.
Some of the common type of mental health disorders include:
- Clinical depression: It is characterized by persistent depressed mood or loss of interest in daily life activities. This is more than just being sad or grumpy. It affects the way one interacts with people on daily basis. It takes away the motivation to work or give their best.
- Anxiety Disorder: It is characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere in one’s decision making abilities.
- Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
- Attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder: Commonly known as ADHD, is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
- Schizophrenia: A disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Commonly known as OCD. It is when excessive thoughts lead to repetitive behaviour. It is more than just feeling the need to keep everything neat and clean.
- Autism: A serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: Also known as PTSD, is a disorder characterized by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
These are just a few of many different types of mental disorders. But one thing common in all of them is the fact they affect one’s daily life.
Take for example, when you have a stomach ache, doesn’t it feel so uncomfortable to work or continue with your life? What do you do in those times? What do people tell you to do? Take rest. But for mental health patient, when they don’t feel good, no rest can cure the problem. What do people tell them to do? They say, “You should stop worrying so much.” “You need to relax.” “Just calm down.” “Stop thinking so much.” What they don’t realise is that it is easier said than done. Those people who are suffering want to stop worrying and thinking more than anyone can imagine but it’s just they can’t do it regardless of how much they try.
WHO predicts that by 2020, a total of 20% of India’s population may have some for mental disorder with only about 4000 professionals to tackle the problem. Is that enough? No. Is this a serious problem? Yes. Is there a way to help? Definitely.
How can you help?
- Create an environment where one feels safe to express themselves. Honestly half of mental disorders begin when one has no place to let out their feelings and instead keep it bottled inside them. But while doing so, make sure to take care of yourself too. You are not obliged to listen to someone else’s problems when you yourself are not in a good condition. Always prioritize yourself first and then only you’ll be able to help others out.
- Be nice. Small gestures of kindness can really give the other person a reason to be happy. We live in a world where there are a whole lot of reasons to be sad and worried and very few to be happy. But even a smile or “hi, how are you?” can make a person feel wanted.
- Make people aware about the importance of mental health issues. Make them realise it’s in fact not a topic that can be joked about. It is as deadly as a virus with no cure.
- If anyone around you seems to be not feeling mentally well, tell them it’s alright to seek help of professionals. It is not a taboo to go to therapist or a psychologist. The need to treat mental illness is just as important as any other physical illness.
So basically all in all, mental health is really NOT an irrelevant topic. In today’s time it needs more attention than ever before. India is a country where yoga was discovered yet it is a country where mental illness prevails in huge numbers. Why are we not using our ancient knowledge to improve our lifestyles? Because we are way too busy now.
Specially for people like you who are preparing for competitive exams, it is a very stressful time. You may not have time for yourself, but remember you will only be able to achieve your goals with a clear and healthy mind. Just like you look out for your physical health, always ensure your mental health remains just as well. Never hesitate to reach out for help. There are many people who’d be willing to help you out. You just have to find the right ones.