Only people with sound mental health can build a strong nation
Dr Yogesh Kumar
Mental Health is pivotal for growth and development of a society and is vital for a happy and healthy life anywhere in the world. There is no health without mental health.
Stress is a disease of 21st Century. Stress affects work output, causing failures and unhappiness. We need to develop internal protection from the challenges of life. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness or your life situation may trigger it. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
There is a wide range of signs and symptoms of mental illness: Social withdrawal and loss of interest in others; An unusual drop in functioning at school work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty in performing familiar tasks; Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain; Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity; A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality; Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling. Further, rapid or dramatic shifts in feeling may be the symptoms of mental illness. One or two of these symptoms alone cannot predict a mental illness. But if a person in experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a mental health professional. People with the suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention.
The negligence of mental health in contemporary society has led to the bewildering complexities. Faced with the challenges of the modern and competitive world, which is degenerating man, we need to create awareness about understanding the complexities of human behaviour and application of psychological intervention to contribute meaningfully to the purpose of human existence. WHO estimates that one in every 22 people suffers from depression and yet, the social stigma and taboo attached to this increasingly common mental illness continues to scare individuals away from seeking appropriate treatments. The WHO reports that there are only three psychiatrists per million people in India, while in other developed countries, the ratio is 5.6 psychiatrists for the same. In India, the Union Health Budget itself is a little small of 2.2 per cent of the overall Budget. So, if we translate it, the Budget for mental health will be 0.0036 per cent. To plan, develop, implement and evaluate mental health services in India, there is a need to understand the clear burden of mental disorders as well as the existing resources and services across the country. National Mental Health Survey shows that at least 13.7 per cent of India’s general population has various mental disorders; 10.6 per cent of them requires immediate intervention.
Vedanta says that nothing in the world has the power to disturb you except yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. If you want to keep good mental health, make time for your hobbies, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument. Surround yourself with good people. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. Try meditation, mindfulness and prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayers can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. Remember, suffering is not caused by external, traumatic events but by qualities of mind which shape our perceptions and responses to events. Needless to say that only people with sound mental health can build the strong nation. If we suffer from mental illness, we should seek help from mental practitioners. Seeking help is a sign of strength—not a weakness. It is important to note that psychotherapy, counseling and medication are effective. People who get appropriate treatment can recover from mental illness and lead complete and rewarding lives. We as a society are slowly recognising that a healthy mind is most essential for a healthy body. The Mental Healthcare bill is very progressive development and a milestone in improving healthcare in India.
(The writer is a Psychologist and Motivator)