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Let’s talk about mental health 



By Avani Bhalla

The 21st century has seen a lot of progress and acceptance from people across institutions but one thing that still hasn’t received much attention is: Mental health.

A lot of us have heard the phrases, “it’s just a phase, it’ll pass”, “it’s all in your head”, or “depression is for losers”. Mental illness is still considered a stigma which puts a question towards one’s sanity. Uneducated people think mental illness is something which stems from defects in the brain or something as dense as the role of supernatural forces. People believe that mental illness doesn’t exist or it is something that does not need psychological intervention.

This might be difficult for most of us to process but something which is more perplexing are the statistics of India when it comes to mental health. The more alarming fact is that student suicides accounted for 7.4% of the 1.3 lakh total suicides in 2019, and 8.2% of the 1.5 lakh total suicides in 2020.  Children with mental health disorders are mostly undiagnosed or hesitant to seek help or treatment.

According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019, before the pandemic, at least 50 million children in India were affected by mental health issues and 80 to 90 per cent did not seek out support. India has spent only 0.05 per cent of its health budget annually on mental health, according to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry 2017. In India only a minority of youth feels that people experiencing mental health issues should seek help.

Why do we wait for the statistics to skyrocket and then figure out ways to stop them from rising? In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, India is most likely to face an epidemic of mental health issues. We need to understand that the mind is just like any other body part. It needs some rest to resume work. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between pushing ourselves and pushing ourselves beyond our limits. All this mad-rush creates a need for help which is often not acquired.

If we feel physical pain we go to a doctor. Then why do we hesitate to go to a therapist? Why do we make it so complicated and hard to accept that we are humans and we can need psychological help when we undergo mental pain? Willpower alone cannot help us in most cases.

Now the question arises, what affects our mental health? Some aspects around us are social desirability, daily life stress, economic issues, socially accepted beauty standards, academic pressure, parental expectations, or even the fear of missing out!

The youth undoubtedly know about mental health, they advocate generating awareness but hardly solve the real problem. I have heard people saying “I was depressed yesterday”, “this thing makes me depressed.” All this doesn’t account for serious and necessary attention and such phrases are used casually. Depression doesn’t just come and go, it stays.

What do we do? How can we help? How often do you genuinely ask yourself and your friends or family “how are you”? This “how are you” has become so important that it alone can save a person who is feeling weighed down with problems. When was the last time you vented and told yourselves that you are strong? When was the last time you did something you enjoyed? It’s either not too recent or some day that we don’t even remember.

Now is the time to take our mental health in our hands and normalise seeking help. It is necessary that we become holistic and happy individuals. 

Poetic गुफ्तगू – With हुमेरा खान @poetsofDelhi