We need to focus on preventive, positive, and community mental health to address mental health conditions. The core of mental health lies in our sense of togetherness, positivity, and support for each other.
Each year, October 10 is marked as World Mental Health Day. Just like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to have conversations on mental health and contribution to the cause of mental health. Every second counts! There has been increasing acknowledgment of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (WHO). This article focuses on mental health and the collective well-being of the mass:
The fact that we continue dialogues to ensure mental health narratives are shaped in a way that the coming generation doesn’t have to go through the stigma and discrimination of stereotyped thinking that so many have gone through.
These are integral to our mental health. Let's try defining 'health' without using the term mental health or, for that matter, any form of well-being or joy, fun, or success without mental health.
Mental health is not the elephant in the room. It is a herd. It's in each of our rooms, workplaces, living rooms, schools, and playgrounds, they are everywhere, and we still can't see them. It's as if it's not about us but someone out there. Í would not have any mental health conditions, she's lost her mind and she's mad (pagal) were some of the comments I heard regularly when I was suffering from depression.
COVID-19 has taught us that mental health concerns are real. Conversation on depression, anxiety, lifestyle addictions - there's a whole range of issues that we can understand as mental health illness. But we have miserably failed and because of that, we have come to where we have started. We have not had enough dialogues on mental health and neither do we have enough responses.
As many as 75 percent of the people suffering from mental health conditions do not go to the doctor because of the persistent stigma, discrimination and violence. Dialogues in schools and workplaces at the social and psychological levels are necessary.
A strong support system is needed. Talk to a friend if we are struggling and fighting a silent battle. They comfort you and give you the confidence to get help. Covid-19 taught us the importance of a strong support system. Ultimately, Covid-19 taught us that better outcomes are achieved with better support and compassionate and positive response. Family, friends, and social connectedness need to be the core aspect of who we are as a society. We need to genuinely build a support system and make the world a safer place for everyone be it in the internal or real world. This can happen when everyone takes ownership and be responsible.
Hence, let's say yes to
Mental health curriculum and outcome
Tele-health and access to health
NGO, INGO sector at the mental and primary health care level
Clinical expertise and clinical support at all levels, from preventive, and secondary to rehabilitation
We need to focus on preventive, positive, and community mental health to address mental health conditions. The core of mental health lies in our sense of togetherness, positivity, and support for each other. Life will throw us a million darts and that's when our social support system and well-being help. We need to start our internal dialogue, "What I can do to support mental health," because that's how the environment will be created at the collective mental health level. Surely, we all have a role to play, and let that be at the collective level. It was only after I suffered from severe depression and mania that I realized that I will do anything and everything to make a difference to prioritize mental health.
World mental health day is not the only day we talk about mental health. We need to save lives and create a safer world 365 days. Each one of us has a role to play and can become mental health advocates to help support lives. Although there is no dearth of mental health myths, many of them are just myths or false. There are so many myths associated with mental health that are predominant since time immemorial. Such as:
Mental health is a sign of weakness- False
If you go to an expert, people will talk about you- False
If you take medicines, you will be dependent on them- False
The list is endless. What we need to analyze is why this has happened. It's primarily because the community on mental health did not have a sense of responsibility and knowledge - be it social media, comedy, or violence on forms of a bully, violence, discrimination, etc. When people talk about mental health and share their struggles, many would shut them down, mock and blame them as if it was their fault which is false. All of this continued in silence wherein silence became the struggle of people and families across the world. Even today, 75% of people do not seek help in the fear of discrimination.The solution to mental health starts with you and me. We need to discuss and have open dialogues responsibly. It cannot be only on the 10th of October just like how we talk about Suicide Prevention only on the 10th of September and forget it the rest of the year.