Last year, we published a study that revealed how 43% of Indians suffer from depression. Surprisingly, however, even in big cities like Mumbai, mental health awareness is low, stigma is high, and discrimination against people with mental health concerns is a harsh reality. The very recommendation that you should meet a therapist or mental health professional is taken at best with disgust and, at worst, anger.
What is mental health?
The world of “Mental Health” Week has been observed, can you understand “Mental Health”? First of all, it is important to understand the meaning of “mental health”. It’s not just about being sick, it’s about people believing in their abilities, working productively, dealing effectively with daily stressors, seeking help when they feel overwhelmed, and with others. Shows the state of mind in which you can build relationships. And strive for their best potential.
A person’s mental health status is established by the individual’s ability to manage one’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and interactions with others, while mental illnesses and disabilities include social discrimination, lack of protection policies, etc. Often caused by a combination of factors. Poor working conditions, poverty, lack of education, poor average living standards, abuse (verbal, physical and sexual), lack of family or / and social support systems. It is true that certain genetics and certain personality attributes can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems, but contrary to common belief, these are the only mental illnesses or disorders. Or not the most important cause.
A national survey found that the top three prevailing attitudes in India regarding attitudes towards people affected by mental health concerns in 2018 are:
- Do not take responsibility for people with mental illness
- One of the main causes of mental illness is lack of self-discipline and willpower.
- Mental unhealthy people should have their own group – healthy people do not need to be contaminated by them.
If we are diagnosed with cancer or malaria, do we ask them to put together their actions and improve, or do we expect them to use their willpower to cure themselves? With regard to its prevalence and the number of people affected, mental health issues are the same as physical health concerns, contempt and contempt.
With existing attitudes, it is natural to refrain from talking about concerns or seeking the help needed by affected people and their families for fear of being judged or labeled. However, there are changes that each of us can make that will help create an environment that promotes positive mental health.
Here are four steps you can take to reduce the social stigma associated with mental health concerns:
1. Educate yourself about mental illness
The general belief that people with mental illness are dangerous or violent is, unfortunately, a myth spread by the film. People with mental illness are often victims of violence and abuse themselves. Ask all stereotypes and treat people with respect, regardless of diagnosis.
2. Stop using the label
People often say things like “she is depressed” or “he has schizophrenia.” Mental illnesses that someone deals with are just one aspect of their lives, not their identities. Therefore, use words that separate people from health problems. For example, you can say “she is dealing with depression” or “he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.” Use sensitive words with respect.
3. Supporting people
Remember that those who tackle mental health issues make an important contribution to the world. Did you know that former Norwegian Prime Minister Hell Magne Bondevik suffered a melancholy episode in August 1998 while he was still in power? He took some time to recover and continued as prime minister until March 2000. Do not judge people to be incompetent or dismiss their abilities based on the mental health they may be suffering from. If you were in their position, treat people with dignity as you would like to be treated yourself. Encourage the actions your family and friends take to overcome mental illness and support their efforts to lead a healthy and productive life.
4. Encourage and initiate open discussions
If you are working on or dealing with a mental health issue yourself, talk about it. Your courage helps to raise awareness and empower many others. If you are dealing with it with family or friends, you will get their permission to speak openly about the illness and in doing so will remove the associated shame.
Dr. Brock Chisholm, the first director of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared in 1954 that “without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” On this very important day, let’s promise to carry out our bit by advocating reducing the stigma surrounding mental health concerns and promoting a world of inclusion and susceptibility.
For more information on mental health, check out Healthy Reads or see Emotional Wellness Expert Divya Thampi’s class on GOQii Play.