The story so far and the year 2020

In 2017, we witnessed Chester Bennington’s suicide that not only left a deep impact on every Linkin Park fan but also made us realise how our internal struggles can lead us to take extreme steps. The year 2020 drastically changed the way we worked and carried ourselves.

It was the year that revolutionized every area of one’s life whether it be professional, academic, social or personal and one area it severely impacted was mental health.

India and Mental Health

A 2017 study that in India, as many as 197·3 million people had mental disorders including 45·7 million with depressive disorders while 44·9 million with anxiety disorders.

This stat is enough to emphasize why this topic can’t be brushed aside today. With a significant proportion of students and workers facing the crunch of online technology and its advances, the idea of mental health determining the students work and functioning becomes important to address. 

US report says

What people don’t get is the idea that mental illnesses never discriminate!

In fact, reports in the US state how even children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behaviour or developmental disorders. What we need to get right is that mere absence of mental disorders isn’t enough to constitute a good mental health. Infect, a good mental health is one where there’s an equilibrium and harmony between our emotional, social, personal and spiritual functioning.

There are a number of wide-ranging factors that can lead to mental illness/disorder ranging from a messy heartbreak to a faulty parent child relation to a chemical imbalance. Each factor is equally important and has the potential to disturb our healthy functioning.

Signs and symptoms vary for different disorders and illnesses

In depression and anxiety (two very common mental health issues) fatigue, low appetite, constant nervousness, lack of interest in our daily and favorite activities, withdrawal from friends and family, burnout, feeling drained all the time could be some common signs. These factors severely impact our functioning and lead to disturbances in our social, personal and even professional life.

In more serious disorders such as schizophrenia, delusions and hallucinations are common. There is often a tendency to overlook such signs consciously or even unconsciously due to the social taboo surrounding mental health which prevents us from initiating steps to address them or at times due to our personal lack of knowledge.

Some commonly used terms you may encounter while classifying disorders include Psychotic disorders, Eating Disorder, Mood disorder, Substance abuse related disorders and Personality disorders etc. This is usually done to make the process of treatment and diagnosis easier and objective.

Suicides: Men Vs. Women

According to American suicide prevention organization, number of suicides committed by men were 3.54 percent higher than suicides committed by women in 2017.

This shows how stigma surrounding mental health as well as toxic masculinity affects and prevents men from seeking help. The concept of men never emoting and always being strong needs to be done away with as it’s a harmful concept to preach today. Similarly, females are more prone to self-esteem issues hindering their development of self, due to objectification and over sexualisation in the society which further leads to anxiety, shame depression and stress. Cases of domestic violence can lead to PTSD or even trauma in some women which needs to be attended with proper care and sensitivity.

It could affect both male and female

It was noticed that depression is more common in women than men. 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to 1 in 10 men.

This shows the grim reality of mental health for both the genders. The stats are worse for LGBTQ community with population overall bearing a disproportionate burden of mental health issues relative to the general population with emerging evidence suggests that within the LGBT population the odds of depression symptoms are even higher among transgender individuals compared with non-transgender individuals.

 How you can be alert

Seeking help should never be frowned upon. If you feel you aren’t at your best emotionally and mentally, seek professional help. Depending upon your nature of our problem, a number of therapies can be used ranging from behavioral therapies that target our problematic behavior and seek to reduce it by various means such as reinforcements and conditioning to psychoanalysis which often involves venturing in our past and making deductions out of it in the present or even cognitive therapy which challenges our distorted thought structures and seeks to rectify it.

If its someone you know who’s seeking help, be empathetic and sensitive. Various researchers have found that following a nutritious diet, meditating, working out and shunning alcohol and tobacco intake can significantly improve our mental health and uplift our mood. Mental illnesses have different implications on different groups.

Hence what we learned

Its important to build and nurture an environment that helps individuals seek help and not suffer in silence and pain. This shift towards a more healthy society needs to come through a collective effort from both the society as well as the individual.

Lakhshita Upadhyay, Nidhi Rao and Tanya Gupta – Team Delta

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