The COVID-19 crisis has brought to the fore the need to talk about mental health. You might be able to find videos and articles about the importance of mental health and how you can assist your friend. But, do we truly comprehend it? Did we ever double-check with our friends, family, and loved ones before sharing mental health posts and content?
A study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2015 shows that one in five Indians may undergo depression in their lifetime, an equivalent of 200 million.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health issues while also encouraging people to discuss them. A few people came forward and expressed their feelings of isolation and depression. However, this does not resolve the issue. Even so, most people regard mental illness as a stigma. According to a study, 87 percent of respondents were aware of mental illness, and 71% used stigmatizing terms.
Youngsters must realise that mental health is just as important as physical health.
One must work on mental strength as well. While you can see the physical scars mental scars are not seen so it does not mean your mental health remains unaffected by situations. For example, a person may be physically strong, but that does not rule out the possibility of mental weakness. It’s crucial to work on both sides of the coin.
Mental health has an impact on physical health.
Mental health issues are just as serious as any other disease with physical symptoms. The mind and body are intertwined. Stress reduces the immune system’s effectiveness. As for coping mechanisms, many people turn to drugs and alcohol, affecting their overall health and stability. It becomes a cycle of destructive behaviour. Your mental health influences how you perceive the world around you and how you respond to it. Several factors, such as one’s environment and child abuse, past traumas, deaths, erroneous self-perception, insecurities, marriage, family pressure, physical and sexual assault, and emotional abuse can have an impact on one’s mental health.
According to a survey conducted by UNICEF and Gallup in early 2021 with 20,000 children and adults in 21 countries, only 41% of young Indians aged 15 to 24 believe that seeking help for mental health issues is beneficial, compared to an average of 83 percent in 21 other countries. In fact, India was the only one of the 21 countries where only a small percentage of young people believed people with mental illnesses should seek help.
Mental Health Is Important
We not only need to take care of ourselves but also reach out to people who need help. Mental illness is also misunderstood by those who have never experienced it. It comes to us to communicate our needs and share our experiences with others to reduce the stigma.
If people continue to view mental illness with fear and resistance, people with mental health concerns will find it difficult to seek the help they require. We need to change our attitude. We must recognise the importance of social support for people with mental illnesses in order to reduce stigma and recognise our responsibility to provide the best possible care to those who suffer.
The views are the author’s own.