According to World Health Organization (WHO), there has been a 13 per cent rise in mental health conditions and substance use disorders worldwide in the last decade. Based on the estimates of the WHO, approximately 7.5% of the Indian population is suffering from any kind of mental illness.
COVID-19 pandemic has a devastating effect on health care services, education sector, tourism and trade and most importantly mental health. Suicide is now the second-highest cause of death in India among those between the ages of 15 and 29.
Mental health conditions can have a substantial effect on all areas of life, such as school or work performance, relationships with family and friends and ability to participate in the community.
We should discuss about their prevention year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Health Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health professionals across the country to come together and discuss many issues related to mental health.
Each year, one week from 4th to 10th of October is dedicated to raising awareness for mental illnesses by combating stigma and offering support to patients suffering from mental illnesses. Mental Health Awareness Week is an important opportunity to put focus and emphasis on these issues and need to consider what we are doing year-round for mental wellbeing.
The theme of this year’s mental health that will be observed on 10th October is “Mental health in an unequal world”. As the digital divide is prevalent in our communities across developing world so is the divide as far as accessibility to and awareness regarding Mental Health problems.
To bridge this gap there is an urgent need to spread awareness and address the myths associated with occurrence of Psychiatric disorders.
Why mental health awareness is important?
Mental health awareness campaigns have yielded positive outcomes that can help the millions of people who are suffering from mental health issues.
Awareness is a form of education.
Awareness is the key for understanding what mental health is and what is important in accessing community resources.
Mental health is an issue to be taken seriously.
People are never serious about mental health. Mental illness affects many people daily and there is absolutely no humor in it. It's not funny at all to throw insensitive jokes around and hurt people in so many ways.
Mental health affects physical health
There is a correlation between our mental health and physical wellbeing. Mental illness can cause stress and impact our immunity levels and that is why mental health awareness is important.
Mental health is related to emotional well-being
Unhealthy mind can lead one to feel low, angry, or disturbed which affects our emotional and overall wellbeing.
Mental health plays a crucial role in relationships
Unstable mind can impact how we conduct ourselves with closed ones which causes disturbances in relations with our friends and family.
Mental health affects the quality of life
An unhealthy mind can cause us to lose interest in the things we once enjoyed which can have negative impact on our daily life.
Mental health needs immediate attention
Mental illness can get serious and push someone over the edge towards taking his life. So, it is the need of the hour to aware people about mental illness and counsel the person suffering from mental illness to talk about mental health and there’s no shame in asking for help.
Mental health issues vary from person to person
Mental health differs from person to person, and there is no concrete way of defining it.
Thus, mental health awareness week is necessary to help people become aware of their mental suffering and make others around them aware of it too so that they can get help.
Awareness also eliminates stigma.
Stigma shames the mentally ill and moves a community into a negative trend which may cause a combination of denial and hatred towards a mentally ill person. Awareness can help people to destigmatize the mental illness.
Awareness can create improvements for the mentally ill.
Attention can result in positive changes for the mentally ill and lead to improvements on policy, research, and service development.
Awareness helps people understand their Symptoms
A lot of people who have mental health symptoms don’t actually realize that their struggles are a result of untreated psychiatric disorders. Therefore, mental health awareness is helpful in getting you to understand your symptoms.
Awareness helps people seek treatment.
This can also help open the door for people seeking treatment or help with their mental health.
Awareness encourages continual mental health education.
Continuing the discussion means continuing our education regarding the illnesses that are affecting you personally and the people we care about.
Awareness can reduce fatal outcomes
Awareness can reduce suicide rates, drug addiction related deaths etc.
Awareness enables community building
By continuously advocating why mental health awareness is important we can lead to building better support facilities for those suffering from mental ailments.
How to observe national Mental Health Awareness Week
Take stock of your surroundings, be curious as we know that Greater awareness of the world around us helps us to see the unusual and notice simple changes in the environment which can be helpful in preventing mental illnesses.
Reach out to friends and relatives
Mental health awareness week gives us the opportunity to reach out to our family, friends etc. and openly talk about mental illness. It also gives us the opportunity to understand their responses about the mental illnesses. By talking to we might understand whether or not they need mental health support and guide them accordingly.
Read about mental health
It is very important to learn more about it before advising anyone as it is a very sensitive subject. We can read about mental illnesses from different reliable and scientific sources.
It’s just as important to get your self-assessed when feel like distressed or change in previous level of functioning.
Talk to your friends and family about self-harming thoughts
Keeping the topic of self-harm and suicide shrouded in mystery and shame only leads to more deaths. Help break the stigma of mental disorders.
Get social, Spread the word.
Help community by spreading a word through social media.
Visit your therapist
If you feel low or any other symptom related to mental health, it is time to visit the therapist and talk about your problems and queries.
Engaging in regular physical activity is known to go hand in hand with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
Giving encapsulates many things – from showing goodwill and generosity of spirit to giving presents and giving up our time.
Mental health awareness should not only be for a day or two or even a month but should be celebrated for whole year.
Bust the myths shrouding Mental Health Disorders to stay Healthy.
In this connection, Department of Psychiatry SKIMS Medical College has been pivotal in this awareness cum treatment programs throughout the year. The department organizes activities with University of Kashmir, School education department, through national & local audio-video media and with governmental and non-governmental organizations regularly. To observe the Mental Health week, Department has planned many activities as well.