Mental Health Awareness: High Time We Start Speaking About It

Anything human is mention-able, and anything mention-able can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” – Fred Rogers   

Recollect the last time you consulted a doctor because you were anxious and suffering sleepless nights. Probably you don’t remember, right? Maybe you never consulted one!

That’s how we treat our mental health. The first step to create awareness is to accept that similar to physical illness mental illness also EXIST. Isn’t it ironic that the master of our body that deserves the uttermost care is so underrated in terms of its health?

Mental illness:

American Psychiatric Association defines mental illness as “health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior.”

According to the WHO- “mental health is related to mental and psychological well- being”.

Mental illnesses are associated with distress or problems functioning in social, work, or family activities.

Mental health concerns can prevail for longer times but when they start interfering with the normal functioning of the person they are termed as mental illness. There are various factors that can deter mental well- being such as stress, anxiety, social and economic pressure, etc.

Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder but also looking after happiness.

What are the inclusions of mental disorders?

Mental disorders describe a wide range of conditions:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychoses
  • Dementia
  • Developmental disorders like autism.

Suicide:

Derived from Latin words-

  • ‘Sui’- oneself
  • ‘Cide’ or ‘Caedes’- killing

Suicide constitutes all cases of death directly or indirectly resulting from the act of a person who is aware of the consequences of the behavior.

According to the Government of India death is classified as suicide if it follows these three criteria:

  1. It should be an unnatural death
  2. The intent to die originated within the person
  3. There should be a reason for suicide that can be specified or unspecified.

Risk factors of suicide:

Suicide is not a choice but a consequence. It is not committed but abetted. Although the exact cause of suicide is unknown some major risk factors considered for suicides in India include:

  • Domestic violence: accounts for approx. 4% of total suicides.
  • Suicides Motivated by ideology
  • Underlying mental illness
  • Student suicides: every hour a student commits suicide. The count is rising from 9,478 in 2016 to 10,159 student deaths in 2019.
  • Farmer’s suicide in India: due to low yield price, droughts and loans they are forced to end their lives.

Mental health status in India:

A World Health Organization (WHO) report revealed that 7.5 of the Indian population suffers from mental illness.

In 2017 197.3 million Indians were having mental disorders, including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9million with anxiety disorders.

WHO predicts that by 2020 approximately 20% of India will go through mental illness.

India’s National Crime Records Bureau reported that in 2015 the total number of suicides in India was 133,623. The rate was 10.6 per 100,000 with female to male ratio of 2.2.

Know the Warning signs of suicide:

  • Feeling doomed, hopeless and suicidal thoughts
  • Unbearable physical or emotional pain
  • Changed sleeping pattern and eating habits
  • Overdose of drugs and alcohol (substance abuse)
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Feeling isolated and acting anxious, irritated

How we can help?

Observe- Listen- Discuss- Deal

  • Observe the warning signs and behavior patterns of the concerned person.
  • Listen to them without judging them and acknowledging their thoughts.
  • Discuss the change and ask what is bothering them. Don’t hesitate to talk about suicide. A single gesture of care can be a ray of hope to their cry for help.
  • Deal with them. Help them to confront their fears and win the silent battle against demise.

Professional help:

  • Psychological counseling: your mental health is much more important than physical well. Don’t be ashamed to see a psychotherapist if in need.
  • Medical intervention to cope- up with the pain.
  • Psychiatric treatment for behavioral disorders.

Organizations:

Numerous organizations are working recklessly with a mission to help YOU. Some of them are mentioned here with their helpline no.

  1. Jeevan Aastha Helpline-1800 233 3330
  2. AASRA- suicide prevention and counseling NGO- 09820466726
  3. Fortis Stress Helpline-8376804102
  4. COOJ Mental Health Foundation- 0832-2252525
  5. One life – 7893078930.

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