Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make decisions. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood.
The term mental health is commonly used in reference to mental illness. However, knowledge in the field has progressed to a level that appropriately differentiates the two. Although mental health and mental illness are related, they represent different psychological states.
India is the second most populated country of the world with the population of over 1.25 billion. Do you know that around 6-7% of the population lives with mental health problems which means over 70 million people? And this number is increasing every year. These people face challenges in their everyday life and the number is increasing day by day.
There are many different types of mental conditions that are recognized as mental illnesses. Some common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Often these things lead to suicidal thoughts. A suicidal thought is one of the most frightening problems which need immediate treatment.
It can be possible someone in your family or one of your friend or you may be suffering from mental health problem but you don’t know that as we don’t have much knowledge about it. Often we know but don’t want to accept as people having mental illness are not treated equally in India. Often they face discrimination in their surroundings even in families. They face poverty, homelessness and unemployment due to discrimination. A mentally ill person is still referred as crazy or mad person or a “pagal” which is a common word used in India. This is the saddest part. Instead of helping those people we often make fun of them.
Having a mental illness really doesn’t mean a person is mad or crazy though. It just means he or she has a problem, similar to a medical disease, which needs treatment. Why can’t we accept that suffering from mental health problems is like any other health diseases? People with mental health problems can get better or recover completely. But there is a lack of mental health facilities available in our country.
You may suspect that your friend or relative has mental health problem by the way he or she is acting. If you are unsure about you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem.
Some warning signs of mental illness:
- Eating or sleeping disorder i.e. too much or too little eating or sleeping
- Pulling away yourself from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks
As soon as you are quite sure that your friend is suffering from depression, anxiety or any other disorder, you should encourage him or her to see a doctor. Your friend may be denying that there is a problem or maybe even embarrassed to admit that there is a problem. Encourage your friend every day by pointing out his strengths and help him to build his confidence level again. The encouragement of a friend may be all that your friend needs to seek help. Give your friend hope by reminding him that the way he is feeling is only temporary. People who suffer from mental disorders often feel like things will never get better, but you can remind them that this is not the truth.
For helping people facing any kind of problem regarding mental health an IIT student Richa Singh has created a website called yourdost.com which provides counseling and psychological solutions online by experts.
Some organizations such as Live Love Laugh founded by bollywood actress Deepika Padukone and other NGOs have come forward to help people suffering mental health problems.
Links are given below:
We all know that prevention is better than cure; so we can have a strong and positive mental health by a healthy lifestyle and a positive mind.
Some ways to maintain positive mental health:
- Getting professional help if you need it
- Connecting with others
- Staying positive
- Getting physically active
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
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