Mental illnesses have been around since the dawn of humankind however has started to gain popularity only very recently. But why is that so? Why do we still shy away from talking about Mental issues and Mental Wellness
There are several reasons for the obliviousness of mental wellness and its importance. Mankind had a rather repugnant view of mental health
for most of its history. Many mental illnesses were seen as acts of supernatural creatures or ‘Gods’ for that matter. But that’s not even the worst part, many people choose to be alien to the truth even whilst being brought face to face with it. For example; The Greek gods are a touchy lot, quick to take offence
For instance, they took a hard line with Orestes after his matricide. And in a world where many important phenomena such as mental illness were not readily explicable, the whims of the gods were the fall-back explanation. These perceptions of unnatural causes for very common mental illnesses are widespread all over the world to date. Other than that, there is just a decrepit interpretation of mental illness as it being a form of weakness.
Another huge problem is the fact that facilities and institutions that provide for a person’s mental well being are largely concentrated in urban areas and even though there may be an outlet for people in rural areas, it will still be extremely expensive. There are 0.301 psychiatrists for 100,000 people in India and that number is even lesser in the case of psychologists. This goes to show that there just aren’t enough places for people with various mental illnesses to go to.
The lack of awareness which mental wellness has, has led to a horrific state of affairs especially in India. According to reports made by the WHO, one in every four people had suffered from some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives. 7.5% of people in India suffer from anxiety and depression.
That is a whopping ninety four million out of an equally huge population of one point three billion. 13.7% of India’s population has various mental health disorders
. Which consequently means that out of 1.3 billion people at least 178,100,000 people do suffer from a number of mental illnesses, which is just outrageous.
To add to this, there were an estimated 788,000 suicide deaths worldwide in 2015.
This indicates an annual global age-standardized suicide rate of 10.7 per 100,000 population. India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012
, according to a WHO report published on September 4, 2014. People, as they do not have people to talk to and no way for people suffering from these illnesses to find its rather accessible cure, they start feeling lonely thus adding to the negative feelings they already have to go through.
The most primary step towards wholesome mental awareness is to spread awareness about the value mental health has in everyone’s lives, which is paramount. This isn’t an individual effort. One person cannot singlehandedly be responsible for its propagation. It is a collective effort. It involves an uprooting of deeply embedded ideas and perspectives, held by the majority of people in India and all over the world as well.
This does not mean that we don’t have organisations which work for the promulgation of the importance of mental health one of which is, NAMI(National Alliance on Mental Illness)
. Organisations like these have done marvels for the status of mental health in the world. Slowly and steadily there is an increase in the number of people who are talking about mental health and mental illnesses. Yet, we all know that there is still a lot more work to be done. And this, before we go out addressing the world, needs to start at home. We all know people in our families and friend circles who belittle mental health and illnesses, and we must all work towards making people know that it’s not ‘ok’, that it’s not ‘alright’ to feel like killing yourself, to feel helpless and alone in this big dark world.
What you might find remarkable is that Bangladesh has a legitimate way of evaluating the welfare of its people based on the general level of happiness in the country. This shows how a country values its people’s emotional well being along with its other responsibilities.
We all have to come together and move people suffering from mental illnesses from a ‘position of disease and disability to one of hope and recovery.’
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