According to a study conducted by The Adult Psychiatry Morbidity, rates of mental heath problems and self-harming are rising among young women living in Britain. The statistics show that more than 1 in 4 women aged 16-24 reported symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Another shocking fact is that only one-third of these women opt for treatment.
The situation in India, however, is no different. According to a report published in Times Of India in September 2016, the number of women attempting suicide in the country is nearly thrice that of men.
The survey cites various reasons for the deteriorating mental health among young women:
Women in developing countries are prone to one or the other form of sexual abuse. Fearing humiliation in society, many of the survivors do not report the crime. They live with the trauma of this brutal incident throughout their life without sharing it with anyone. Those who do share end up receiving more flak.
Moreover,the stigma associated with assault prevents survivors from availing counselling and therapeutic services offered by many NGOs.
Pressure from Social Media
Social media has revolutionized the way we perceive each other. Its emergence has specifically impacted young women reeling under the pressure of attaining a good body image. The societal standards of beauty are just too high for them to handle.
More and more women are entering the workforce and proving their mettle in their chosen fields. This is a good sign but the problem is that society is not shedding its unrealistic expectation of the working women to look after the household with equal enthusiasm. With no time left for rejuvenation, the extra load of work takes a toll on their mental health.
Lack of awareness
While people take physical health issues with a lot of seriousness, mental health issues are often brushed under the carpet. Shethepeople.Tv spoke to Mahalakshmi Rajagopal, a mental health professional based in Delhi, about the various reasons behind the problem.
“Today, young women are experiencing lot of mental health issues because they are moving on to more challenging spheres but have not really learnt suitable coping strategies. They are also not aware that they may seek help for learning coping strategies. There is lack of awareness regarding “what mental health issues are” as they are generally misunderstood as things which can be sorted easily
Common symptoms and solutions
Rajagopal said we must look out for a few symptoms common in patients suffering from mental health illnesses. “If your loved one is suddenly showing signs of irritability, sudden decrease in appetite and self-care or a prolonged disturbance in sleeping patterns, take him/her to a mental health professional. These signs usually signal the presence of a mental illness.”
She also suggested some day-to-day activities that keep mental illnesses at bay.
“The best way to avoid such illnesses from affecting you or your loved one is by being receptive. Talking to people having different ideas and perceptions regularly is known to mitigate the impact. Introspection also works wonders as it gives you a chance to be aware of your positive and negative emotions”
Our take: This problem can only be solved when institutions working at different levels understand their sense of responsibility and take the necessary steps to prevent it. Stringent measures ensuring safety for women should be taken. The stigma around mental health must go. Incorporating useful practices like meditation and yoga can go a long way in helping one lead a happy and meaningful life.
Charvi Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV