Why am I feeling this way? Did I do something wrong? It’s my fault they reacted this way, isn’t it? I can’t sleep, I feel helpless, nothing matters anymore!
If one has the above-mentioned thoughts, then one needs to give priority and take care of their mental health.
The importance of Mental health isn’t a commonly talked about topic. Growing up, we read about having a balanced diet and taking care of our physical health but never once a sentence regarding our mental health is mentioned. Why isn’t mental health given the same priority that our physical health is given?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.It also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental illness is an equal opportunity issue. It affects young and old, male and female, and individuals of every race, ethnic background, education level, and income level.
Roughly 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million suffer from some anxiety disorder. India has one of the highest prevalences of mental illnesses globally.The National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 percent of India's population required active mental health interventions. Every year, about 2,00,000 Indians take their lives. The statistics are even higher if one starts to include the number of attempts to suicide.
Owing to the covid 19 pandemic, loss of livelihood of daily wage workers, businesses, and job layovers have causedstress, anxiety, and depression to a great deal of people.The constant worry of finding ways to make their bread and butter has taken a toll on their mental health.
Another influential factor of the pandemic is the increased usage of social media. While we are grateful that it kept us connected through the difficult time, it did affect us tremendously in a bleak manner. We tend to compare our looks and lives with others on social media and are often disappointed and are led to belittle ourselves and our worth. While seeing people's posts, we keep wishing for thinner bodies, expensive products, or fancier lifestyles. This makes us and our mental health fall down a condescending, self-harming spiral. Cyberbullying is also very prevalent while using social media. Even though we haven’t physically met the person making harsh comments, it still affects us as emotions is the one thing that makes us human. Simply arguing and having a disagreement with a person, can cause us to overthink, affects our mood, thinking, behaviour, can make us miserable, and cause problems in our daily life.
Bullying, in general, is a huge problem and a huge factor causing mental health problems.Bullying takes place in children as young as 7 years to college students and as old as 21 years. For students, school or college is not a place of learning but a place of societal hierarchy being imposed. They try their best to fit in, change the way they look and act and diminish their own identity. If they want to be themselves, they are subjected to verbal or sometimes even physical abuse and torment. This affects their mental health. It can lead to several problems like depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviours.
For me, playing tennis was a way to take care of both my physical and mental health. Likewise, sports is a way for many to cope with mental health issues.Other simple but effective ways are to talk to someone about your feelings, treat yourself with kindness and respect, avoid self-criticism, surround yourself with positive people, practice yoga and meditation, talking to a therapist.
Seeking help for your mental health is a sign of strength and not weakness. One doesn’t have to struggle in silence.What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversations. Let us break the still existing taboo surrounding mental health and spread as much awareness as we can about it. Let uslend a listening ear to anyone vulnerable enough to entrust us with their feelings,Let us normalise treating mental health, at the same level as our physical health. After all, they say to be healthy means to be one with your mind, body and soul.