Whatever may be the reason, talking about mental health has been lesser of a taboo in this year. Traditionally, it has not been common, in our society, to discuss issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. In fact, people are often discouraged from talking about such issues, whether in private or public. But it seems like in 2018 we finally realised that neglecting mental health would not make these problems go away. Or the rising epidemic of suicide attempts and deaths in our country, set us questioning our understanding of wellness. It seems that millennial Indians are choosing to break the stigma around mental health and talk about it, rather than spending their lives suffering in silence.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • 2018 will be the year when India finally started discussing mental health issues.
  • With more people talking about mental health, the stigma surrounding it will finally give way to acceptance.
  • Accepting that we have a problem and getting help and support in light of this acknowledgement, are vital to the healing process.
  • The next part of this conversation should be about understanding healing.

Social Media Leading the Way

Youngsters and adults, common folks and celebs, all are speaking up about their struggles with it, which has led to normalisation of such conversations. Social media is where a considerable part of this conversation is happening.  The virtual nature of dialogue on online platforms has helped many to overcome their inhibitions and talk openly about their struggles.  This shift in outlook will help so many people to address their own struggles when they see their problem being discussed as part of the normal narrative in the society.

No one can heal, when it comes to mental health problems, unless they have a strong support system by their side.

Which is why we need to celebrate this feat. With more people talking about mental health, the stigma surrounding it will finally give way to acceptance on a personal, familial and social level. While social and familial denial keeps our loved ones from sharing their sufferings with us, individual denial keeps us from seeking help. Accepting that we have a problem and getting help and support in light of this acknowledgement, are vital to the healing process. No one can heal, when it comes to mental health problems, unless they have a strong support system by their side.

Reaching Out for Help

The lack of conversation is what keeps us from asking for help. We keep from reaching out to not just peers but trained professionals too. But now that we are okay discussing mental health, just like we discuss all other health issues, hopefully people will be able to overcome this hesitation. Hopefully, it will be easier for those in need of help and support to reach out. However, this progress in breaking the stigmas associated with mental health shouldn’t come to an end with 2018.

People need to stop asking what went wrong. Instead, think about how can they contribute to the healing process of their loved ones.

Understanding the Road to Recovery

We must keep in mind that while we have opened up to having conversations, we as a society are a long way from accepting it as normality. We still look at people with anxiety or PTSD with trepidation. Family members either dissociate themselves or internalise the “blame”. Perhaps the next part of this conversation should be about understanding recovery from mental health issues. What can we do better as friends and families of those in need of help? How we need to stop asking what went wrong, and instead, think about how can we contribute to their healing process? Moreover, how does one know, that it is time to seek help?

To be open to a conversation doesn’t mean that we fully understand mental health. Hence for 2019, our pledge should be to not just keep talking about mental health. But also understand its various aspect better than we do.

Picture Credit : Mental Health by Roar.Lk

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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