Mental health as defined by The World Health Organization states is, “A state of well-being in which the person realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can operate productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community.”
Mental well-being ensures our social, psychological, and emotional development while also keeping ourselves stable at the times of distress. It determines how we think, feel, and behave. It also helps us decide how we cope with stress, interact with others, and make important life decisions. At every stage of life, from infancy, adolescence, and through adulthood, keeping a stable mental health is important.
World Mental Health Day occurs on the 10th of October every year with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues, how to deal with mental health issues and rally efforts in support of mental health all over the world.
Why Is Mental Well-Being Required?
According to WHO, by the year 2020, depression will constitute as the second-largest mental health disorder all over the world. Presently, more than 450 million people suffer from mental health disorders. Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children every year and these concerning numbers do not decrease.
Due to lacking awareness of mental health in our society, these disorders are seen as a “problem of the rich” especially in the third world countries as they believe their child or family members are either “making excuses”, or find something or the other to blame like electronics, choice of friends or school/college environment when this is clearly not the case. In cases like this the parents, relatives and the people around the one suffering cannot be given the full blame. It is due to the lack in awareness that people don’t understand how serious mental health issues can be or how to help a person going though this difficult time.
There is also a strong taboo associated with mental disorders, and hence people refuse to talk about it, acknowledge its existence or even treat these illnesses. They are afraid of judgement from people close to them or thinking that no one would believe them. This makes the situation worse for the person who is actually suffering, leading them to either completely lose control over themselves, harming other around them physically and/or emotionally, or committing suicide.
Most Common Mental Health Disorders
Anxiety Disorders – Certain level of anxiety (Normal Anxiety Level according to the SCAT test) is required to maintain a productive life, but excessive levels of anxiety can lead to the development of a disorder, namely Anxiety disorder. More than 18% of adults, each year struggle with some kind of anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (frequent panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and specific phobias (intense level of fear) such as acrophobia (fear of heights) or aerophobia (fear of flying).
Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, which refers to constant fluctuations in mood, occur when the emotional state of the person is distorted, disoriented, or inconsistent with the present circumstances and affects the person’s ability to think and act normally. Disorders such as depression (extreme feelings of sadness, emptiness, and irritation), bipolar depression (constant swings between feeling fine and depressed), or mania (feeling excessively happy) affect nearly 10% of adults each year.
How To Help A Person Suffering From A Mental Health Disorder?
Take into account that the portrayal of mental disorders in media may not always be correct and can lead to more misconceptions. Every person is different, has different triggers, and needs help in a different manner. Given below are a few common ways you can help someone:
- Show respect and acceptance – They may be suffering from an illness that makes them act differently from how a normal person acts in a situation, so never demean them or make them feel inferior for the way they act. They are all still humans and have to be treated the same. The feeling of acceptance by the people around them helps a lot in coping with their problems.
- Treat them with the same opportunities – Ensure that these individuals are given the same opportunities in your circle of friends, school, or community and never assume what they can and cannot do.
- Increase your reading about mental health – Getting more aware of issues relating to mental health will ensure that you provide the required support to them and not overstep your boundaries or disregard their needs.
There are certain symptoms that you need to notice which are considered abnormal behaviors and tend to occur in people with unstable mind such as abnormal sleeping and eating patterns, withdrawal from people and activities, low in energy, feeling empty and hopeless, tend to be on the edge all the time, angry, nervous, irritated, forgetful, inability to do daily tasks, frequent mood swings, thinking of self-harm and/or high level of alcohol or drug intake.
Mental Health Resources
Given below are few mental health resources that you can use during times of need:
- BMC-Mpower 1on1 (contact: 1800-120-820050)
- Counselors On Call
- Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists
- Wellbeing Volunteer United (contact: 1800-121-0980)
- Association of Psychiatric Social Work Professionals
To conclude, I would suggest if you are a person suffering from any mental health-related problems, don’t be afraid to seek out help. It is best to talk to a professional, be it online or offline and improve your situation before it gets any worse. On the other hand, if you’re a person who knows someone who’s having a hard time, be there for them whenever they require help or just a company to be with, make the situation a little better for them and suggest them to seek professional help. Spread awareness around your family and friends so this taboo about mental health can be ended and show everyone why it is important.