The recent death suicide case of noted Bollywood actor Sushanth Singh Rajput has drawn attention to the sad state of mental health issues in the country. Even today, people in many parts of the country are afraid to come out in the open about their mental ailments. While the lack of awareness is partly to be blamed for this, the social stigma associated with depression makes things worse.
Today, 1 in every 7 Indians suffer from mental ailments. More than 300 million people in different parts of the country are prey to mental health conditions thereby pushing India to the 6th position in the list of ‘Most Depressed Countries in the World’. To draw attention to the different faces of mental health issues, in this article we will talk about who can have such conditions, how to identify them, and what do you do post that.
- Mental ailments can affect anyone
The first step in the path of mental health awareness is to realize that this can happen to anyone. The age group of 18 to 25 are the ones struggling to cope with the realities of adult life and the highest cases of depression, suicidal tendencies, and others are noted among them. Also, cases of serious mental illnesses (SMIs) is 5.7% for women which is significantly higher than that of their male counterparts.
- Types of mental health ailments
The stigma associated with mental health has led the society to believe that people suffering from such conditions are ‘mad’. Not only is that totally untrue, but this is one of the main reasons why people are afraid to come out and seek treatment on such issues. As rational members of a civilized society, we must realize that from a broad perspective, mental health issues can be grouped into seven different categories –
- Depression, bipolar disorders, etc are the most common form of mental ailments. These are known as mood disorders.
- Anxiety disorders are the second kind. Many people have this condition in mild quantities and some form of the trigger makes things worse.
- Personality disorders are a type of mental illness where research is still going on to identify the exact causes and course of treatment.
- Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia have a comparatively longer treatment period and depending on the extent of the disease, you may need to take medicines, undergo therapy, or both.
- Eating disorders such as stress eating or lack of appetite have a major impact on one’s physical health as well. Seeking treatment for this is of utmost importance.
- Things like accidents, witnessing brutal scenes or torture often result in trauma-related disorders like post-traumatic stress disorders. It is to be noted that sometimes it may so happen that one gets trauma-related mental disorder from an event that happened in the distant past.
- Consumption of drugs or other lethal substances results in substance abuse mental disorders.
- Symptoms of mental illness
When you look up online, you will see a host of different mental health quotes. However, the actual symptoms of the disease are what most people miss out on. The most common change is a desire to withdraw from social events and distance oneself from one’s family. A change in one’s dietary pattern may also be observed.
As someone struggling with mental health troubles you will find yourself oscillating between extreme good and bad moods. Excessive worry, fear, and irritability are other red flags that you must look out for.
- It is curable
Once you realize that you are suffering from some form of mental illness, the first step is to understand that human life is precious and that you have no right to end yours. With proper treatment, anyone who is battling mental health conditions today should be able to lead a healthy life tomorrow. The key lies in forcing yourself to stay positive and seeking appropriate help.
- What to do when you identify such symptoms in a friend or family member?
The challenge of mental health is that the person suffering from such conditions are often unaware. It is easier for the people around them to identify the symptoms. If such a thing is to happen to someone close to you, try to sit him or her down and carefully explain the matter to him.
Chances are, that the person might disagree with you and even turn hostile. In such a case, it is recommended that you reach out to a nearby therapist and explain the matter to him. Mental health issues are a sensitive matter and professional guidance might be able to save the future of your loved one.
- Identifying suicidal tendency in oneself
The extreme cases of any of the seven types of mental illness are a desire to end one’s life. If you find yourself with such thoughts, reach out, and seek help from qualified personnel. Look up the suicide helpline number of your city and call them at such times. Remember, Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) clearly states that the attempt to end one’s life is illegal.
When you think of putting an end to all your sufferings, you definitely do not want to envision spending the rest of your days behind the bars. Moreover, the mental health stigma associated with failed suicides (yes, most suicide attempts are a failure) is high across all social strata throughout the length and breadth of the country. Hence, act responsibly and seek advice before it is too late.
Also, remember that the mental health Act of 2017 guarantees healthcare services to every needy citizen of the country. Hence you do not have to worry about the medical bills of seeking treatment for your depression. Unlike physical ailments, mental health issues do not have any bodily manifestations. This makes it difficult for people to sympathize with the patient. However, it is important to realize that the gift of human life is much more important than what people have to think or say about it. Embracing your mental health ailments and seeking appropriate treatment is the first step to overcoming the same.