Being a part of this millennia brings out numerous responsibilities, which makes our lifestyles very busy. In such a busy lifestyle, one very easily forgets to take care of their over-all well-being, let alone the ignorance towards Mental Health. The complete well- being of human body consists of physical as well as mental health; interestingly, even for the extremely health-concerned people, issues of mental health do not fall under the category of major concern. What is it with us, that we disregard the matters of our own brain (an organ which controls our whole body) in the most insignificant way possible. The real significance of Mental Health is reflected in its definition itself:
The WHO (World Health Organisation) constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
Mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
Let’s ask ourselves, “what does keeping yourself fit means to you?” Eating right, exercising and visiting a doctor when required, that’s it. But doing all this is still not enough; perhaps it is enough to keep ourself physically fit, but there’s still a lot to work on for a wholesome mental health. There is a very fine line between mental stability and instability, in times like these, it’s very easy to lose it. The actual difficulty lies in the proper diagnosis; most cases get detected when it’s already too late. This happens because, the human brain works in mysterious ways, most of the time mental illnesses are very difficult to detect as,our mind makes us hide some of the symptoms. The only way of knowing about our mental health is by getting to know our body and it’s needs. Another thing, is to pay close attention to our changing behavioural patterns. Most effective way of detecting mental illness is by keeping an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Chronic sadness or irritability
- Extreme mood swings
- Unnecessary fear, worry, or anxiety
- Social abandonment
- Intense variations in eating or sleeping habits
Sometimes, these symptoms also occur due to normal stress or hormonal changes; but whenever one feels any of these symptoms to be spiralling out of control, then it is the time to report to a professional. Most mental issues are very complex to deal with, that’s why the treatment to these issues lie in locating the root cause of the problem, classifying the disease and then eliminating it, by further counselling and medications (just like any physical disease).
Mental health is further categorised into ‘Psychological health’ and ‘Emotional health’;according to this,major groups of mental disorders are:
- Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
- Eating disorders
- Trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Substance abuse disorders
Let’s discuss some more about the problem of reduced amount of diagnosis of mental disorders. One of its main causes isthe stigma associated to it, by the society(it’s interesting to wonder why the society stigmatises only mental illness and not much of the physical illness). This kind of taboo makes people reluctant to seek help. The society usually blames the victim for a problem which is not in their control, consequently adding to their pain and shame. A lot of people believe, going to a psychiatrist is for someone who is ‘insane’; such stigmas have no place in our developing society. What we all need to understand is the fact that, mental illness can be caused by many social, psychological, and biological factors. Mental illness is also associated with ever-changing social conditions, stressful lifestyle, discrimination of any kind, social exclusion/social anxiety, unhealthy lifestyle, physical sickness, biological risks due to genetic factors etc.
Mental illness is curable, but the kind of damage such an illness causes to a person is irreversible. When it comes to mental disorders, “prevention is always better than the cure”. We have listed below some of the guidelines issued by WHO to promote mental health:
- early childhood interventions (e.g. providing a stable environment that is sensitive to children’s health and nutritional needs, with protection from threats, opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive and developmentally stimulating);
- support to children (e.g. life skills programmes, child and youth development programmes);
- socio-economic empowerment of women (e.g. improving access to education and microcredit schemes);
- social support for elderly populations (e.g. befriending initiatives, community and day centres for the aged);
- programmes targeted at vulnerable people, including minorities, indigenous people, migrants and people affected by conflicts and disasters (e.g. psycho-social interventions after disasters);
- mental health promotional activities in schools (e.g. programmes involving supportive ecological changes in schools);
- mental health interventions at work (e.g. stress prevention programmes);
- housing policies (e.g. housing improvement);
- § violence prevention programmes (e.g. reducing availability of alcohol and access to arms);
- community development programmes (e.g. integrated rural development);
- poverty reduction and social protection for the poor;
- anti-discrimination laws and campaigns;
- promotion of the rights, opportunities and care of individuals with mental disorders.
These techniques are perfectly apt and tested for the promotion of mental well-being. The real way of bringing these techniques to life is through complete cooperation of government authorities, NGOs as well as by the citizens. Our aim is to raise awareness and bring a good change in individual as well as societal mind-set through this platform of ITVI (InfoTech for Visually Impaired). We stand in solidarity with the mental illness victims and survivors with our wholesome vigour. We choose empowerment against discrimination to mental health patients and we teach the same to all our students as well. Team ITVI has made a strong pact to fight against the societal stigma towards mental health and we encourage all our readers to take a path of unconditional compassion, care and support, instead of any kind of discrimination to towards people with mental health issues.Whenever in need of inspiration, just remember what S.E. Hinton said, “You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want. There’s still lots of good in the world”. Let’s pledge together to make this world a better place!