World Mental Health Day: Need to reignite efforts to identify, address mental health concerns
Post by Justice M.M. Kumar on Tuesday, October 11, 2022
October 10 is an historical day for mental healthcare world over. The World Health Organization recognizes the day as ‘World Mental Health Day’. As we all recuperate from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is abundantly obvious that hardly any nation was prepared for the ensuing mental health catastrophe and other long-term effects of the virus.
“Make Mental Health & Well-Being for all a Global Priority” is the theme of World Mental Health Day of 2022. It offers us the chance to re-ignite our efforts to identify and address the mental health concerns of our country and the world at large.
The purpose of spreading awareness about Mental Health Day serves as a reminder that maintaining good mental health is equally vital as physical health. Mental health related issues and disorders like anxiety, depression, substance dependence often go unnoticed, unlike physical problems, like diabetes or a broken toe, for they show visible symptoms or can be seen.
I would also like to highlight that people with mental health disorders continue to experience social stigma, discrimination and violations of their human rights all over the world. It must be dealt with on top priority. I believe that shame and denial must be kept aside and mental health concerns must be efficiently addressed, starting with appropriate and effective awareness campaigns.
The key to eliminating the apathy can be found in increasing mental health awareness and open talks. In view of seeing mental health treatments as part of a continuum that offers whole care, there is a need to develop a multi-pronged approach too since mental health issues have several facets. Perhaps, it’s time to come together and work towards adopting a fresh strategy with renewed zeal.
We witnessed the challenges in mental health establishments during our comprehensive inspections of Gwalior, Agra and Ranchi. The Mental Health Care Act, 2017 has not been implemented neither in letter nor in spirit. We could also see the efforts made by all the stakeholders, including all front line workers.
I would, therefore, also take this opportunity to appreciate all such efforts and enthusiasm of the service providers of our country working for mental health. Let a human become medicine for another human being – a helping hand for those who need our help on Mental Health issues.
Justice M.M. Kumar is Former Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court
NHRC Member and Chair –Core Group on Mental Health