I don’t know where to start as there is so much inequality, disorganization in society, and disparities with respect to mental health. Things are culture specific and we should see them through the lens of our own culture. Considering our own culture for which we sometimes go overboard in praising, it is filled with inequalities and which ultimately boil down to impact the mental health especially of those who are socio-economically more or less unequal.
Let us understand this unequal world of mental health through the prism of Motivational theory of Maslow. According to Maslow, needs create motivation in ascending manner from basic safety needs to higher needs like esteem needs. While it may seem that safety, food etc. are real needs and more potent in motivating our behavior, however, only till they are not fulfilled. Once fulfilled the next needs take the same potency as needs in motivating our behavior. So, we can say most people in our society fill their belly, may have shelter to live but with respect to love, belonging, and esteem there is so much disparity.
Maslow says it is the society that thwarts a person’s needs and creates mental health issues which itself may be sick and unequal. We are in era of mental health crisis from substance abuse, depression and rampant suicide to various less known and subtle pathologies. There is so much inequality in our society which directly or indirectly thwarts the needs of people who can qualify some standards. There is inequality with respect to gender, job, socio-economic status, caste, creed and what not people even weigh individuals based on houses and cars they own.
These inequalities thwart needs like to belong to someone or get married, to mix with your group. There are late marriages, job insecurities, and other inequalities which are related to each other and ultimately boil down to being at least a perpetuating factor for mental illnesses.
Last but not least there is inequality with respect to mental health and illness itself. There is inequality of attitude towards people who suffer from some mental disorder or had even some remote history in the past. People don’t disclose, come out to seek professional help because they fear these inequalities. Then there are inequalities with respect to policies and programs for mental health. While the state invests a lot for material facilities, they should give special focus on inequalities in mental health.
World Mental Health Day
October 10 is celebrated as the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated to create equal opportunities with respect to mental health that includes protecting everyone equally from factors leading to mental illness, equal treatment opportunities and rehabilitation in jobs and other social opportunities.
The Theme of World Mental Health Day,2021 is- Mental Health in an Unequal World. The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. Since there are developments in disease entities and their related research that is why we every year have a new common theme to work on.
The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. It helps professionals around the world to brainstorm on the common chosen theme, this gives us the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience.
The day is also celebrated to advocate against social stigma associated with mental health issues. Because the Mental illness has always been viewed through the prism of ridicule, stigma a marginalization so this factor will always remain in every theme till stigma is removed from societies to a healthy level.
In this respect and contributing to the theme in direct or indirect way below are 6 practical ways or steps to care for mental health.
Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. Anyone can follow this advice. Why not start from today?
1.Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking is healing, we should share our experiences which we don’t share because we think it may make us vulnerable or portray our image as weak. However, the truth is Paradoxically this belief worsens and weakens us more therefore, we become only vulnerable by not talking.
2. Keep active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise has been shown by research having anti-depressant effects, it boosts the same neuro-chemicals in our mind which are boosted by antidepressant medications. So regular exercise is definitely an option while maintaining your overall physical and mental health.
You don’t need those six pack abs or slim waist, just exercise for the sake of exercise, it will give you more benefits.
3. Eat well
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. Regular balanced diet is necessary for maintaining your overall health. Healthy brain needs enough and rich nutrients to function and a healthy mind only resides in a healthy body. We can and should never segregate physical and mental health and we should take care of both.
4. Drink sensibly
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
5. Care for others
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together. Caring for others gives you inner satisfaction and self-confidence, it helps to ignite the relationship bond, gregariousness thereby automatically boosting your mental health. It keeps you away from loneliness. Friends are really important. Friends help each other whenever they can. So it’s a two-way street and supporting them uplifts me.
6. Ask for help
None of us is a superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go as per our plan. Life is uncertain and we cannot control everything in life or sort out every problem ourselves. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.
Consult your nearby psychiatrist or clinical psychologist or any mental health professional if you feel depressed or suffering from any mental health issues. Because, you deserve a better life.