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Mental Well-being: A journey from “Why to talk” to “Let's talk”

Mental fracture, an issue which has not been easy for us as a society to reach terms with, instead, attempts have been made to sweep it under the rugs in the hope that it will either vanish or fade away by itself. It's high time we enter “breaking the stigma” stage from the “denial one”.


Image Source : Make It OK.org

Mental Health issue has as much blood on its hands as any other illness does, but an entrenched tendency to ignore is what we need to find a cure for. We must stop looking the other way.

According to the National Mental Health Survey (2015-16), “More than 13% of Indians are likely to experience “deteriorated” mental health at some point in their lives.

The numbers in our country plead for urgent measures, it is approximated that at least 1 in 20 people in our nation lives with mental illness, that's about 5%, 50 million citizens are suffering from an issue we have just started to acknowledge. India, being the second most heavily populated country around the globe, subscribes to a sweeping percentage of the mentally ill population in the world.

The foremost challenge for us is not the illness or ourshortcoming to find a cure for, but, to addressand recognise the issue.

Ignorance, Prejudice and monstrous baggage of stigma; featuring “Log Kya Kahenge (What people will say)?”

Discrimination, perhaps, would slurp all of the difficulties mentioned above, as often as not we as a society, encounter ourselves being labelled “stigmatized” groups.

“Is it jaundice? relax, Don't pale, you are thinking too much, justget over it! ” said no one ever. An individual is shunned as a “lunatic”, “psychotic” or even worse if comes across as a victim of mental disorder and is usually treated by distance.

Stereotyping or having presumptuous outlook on the disease worsens the case, a study revealed that people are less likely to discuss mental health openly due to the fear of being typecast of being judged or labelled as mentally weak.

Sadly, the denial, despise or mere lack of understanding aggravates the state of people suffering. Stigma around mental health should be regarded with contempt and not mental health itself.

India’s mental health mission: few miles travelled, many more to cover.

Undoubtedly, we have elevated in the journey of mental health progressions, but a long road is yet to be travelled to make the term “mental wellbeing” familiar.

The first and top tier reason that stifles us from talking bout mental wellbeing is the lack ofknowledge and understanding the sensitivity of the issue. The vicious cycle of “shame”, fear and confusion drags us down.

But apart from ignorance, shortage of mental healthcare professionals is another debatable issue, and here is where, the government comes into the scene. According to WHO, there were 0.047 psychologists and 0.301 psychiatrists available for every 1,00,000 patients suffering from mental illness. These staggering figures plead for urgent measures.

On March 27, 2017, a progressive step was initiated by the government by implementing a “Patient-centric” bill under the name “Mental Healthcare Bill” with an aim to protect and safeguard the interest of a person with mental illness.

With the implementation ofthe bill, the long-awaited move to decriminalize suicide also came into action. The bill also established the role of government by placing the onus on law enforcement agencies to guarantee rehabilitation, care and treatment to those suffering from mental illness.

Late bloomer but not late comer. Perhaps, we have undoubtedly covered a distance and succeeded in raising mental issues on public forums but basic education on the topic is still lagging behind.

Psychological first aid; Help is just a call away..

“Talking therapy” , also referred to as Counselling, talking treatment, psychological therapies and psychotherapies , are the terms used for online therapy sessions which can be accessed by any individual trying to seek help.

According to Larry Christensen, professor of psychology at University of South Alabama, “Talk therapy can give you the skills to help handle your mental health issues, so for many people, it's a very empowering experience”

People need someone to hear them out and seeking professional help can help manage their problems in a more sorted way.

While some therapies are paid and may go heavy on your pockets, there are several otherhelplines emerged to meet the crisis eyeball to eyeball and are confidential in nature.

Here are few free helpline numbers that you or someone you know seeking help can rely on;

Talk to Me (NGO) – 9372909321 , 7506552375 , 9820235880 , 9820247880

● SAHAI – 08025497777 ( Monday- Saturday between 10 am to 6 pm )

● AASRA Suicide Prevention and counselling NGO –24/7 helpline number- +91 9820466726

● Sumaitri –011-23389090

● Lifeline Foundation –033-24637401/ 7432

● Saath - +91 7926305544 , +91 792630022

● One Life – 7893078930

● Vandrevala Foundation –18002333330 , 1860266345

Phone a therapist because you can't always phone a friend.

Come, Let's make this okay !

How often do we come across the stories of survivors whose cry for help was painted with brush of ignorance? Probably, time and time again.

How do we bring a change? By normalizing the issue of mental illness and making a conscious effort to voice emotions, stories or opinions accompanying mental health.

Perhaps, the time has come to approach mental fracture with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor. Awareness and education on mental health can flatter to bring stigmatized apathy to the conclusion. Assertive exercise on the utilisation of newer applied science, a responsive industry, an engaged media, progressive government policies based on empirical evidence approach, and the vibrant educational system might together assist in dispelling the blight of mental illness.

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