Bringing mental health to the forefront

Individuals’ well-being and ability to function effectively depends on mental health. Globally, mental health is a major concern, and India isn’t far behind.

A person’s ability to manage thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and interpersonal interactions are all determinants of mental health. Furthermore, social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental factors, as well as specific psychological and personality traits, play a role in the development of a person’s mental health. 

A multi-sector engagement on mental health awareness is of utmost importance. Participation by family members, sensitisation to treatment, and social inclusion are some of the strategies used to address awareness and stigma surrounding mental illness.

It is due to the lack of awareness and sensitivity about the issue that India has many concerns. Mental health issues are stigmatised a great deal. Often, society labels them as ‘lunatics’. Patients are then subjected to a vicious cycle of shame, suffering, and isolation.

In order to alleviate the mental health crisis, it is necessary to raise awareness and mobilise support. Healthy living and a healthy lifestyle can be promoted by creating an environment that promotes mental health.  

Journalists and other content providers like websites should be made aware of evidence-based mental health information through trusted and reliable sources like Indian Psychiatry Society websites, research and educational groups, medical colleges, etc. The availability of simply translated content in several regional languages in written and spoken forms will open up a lot of possibilities.

The educational system can encourage mental health awareness by including mental health narratives, addressing stigma, eliminating discrimination, and empowering stakeholders for early detection and simple interventions.

The fact that most previous mental health strategies have failed over the past half a century or so in less developed countries suggests a renewed commitment for a fresh start in the future. Progressive government policies, committed media, a vibrant education system, and acceptance and support would help fade out mental illness. 

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