If Only People Treated Mental Health Problems Like Physical Issues
(Five out of ten leading causes of disability around the world are mental health issues. As part of a series of articles leading up to World Health Day on 7 April, The Quint is focusing on raising awareness and mobilising support)
How do you describe a mental health issue?
This question was asked by Bengaluru-based NIMHANS, one of India’s top psychiatric hospitals, to all families whose relatives were admitted for treatment in 2013.
7 out of 10 of them thought it was just a low-phase which people cannot snap out of.
Mental health is way more complicated than that. The stigma attached to it is no secret. NIMHANS found that less than 10% of their patients say their family and friends are compassionate towards them.
It’s a shameful statistic, given that one in eight adolescents in India will experience some kind of a mental health issue before they turn 18.
Dr Anjali Chhabria, one of Mumbai’s top psychiatrists, says, this is mainly because of a complete lack of empathy and knowledge about mental health issues. Even in the digital age, most people don’t understand that being diagnosed with a mental health illness is not something in their control or a death sentence – just like meeting with an accident, or getting cancer is out of your control.
In a bid to highlight the conversation around psychiatric illnesses, we have designed pictures to tell you how people react to physical problems they can see versus an internal problem of the mind.
Take a look:
1. Physical Illness
2. Physical Illness
3. Physical Illness
5. Physical Illness
If you have a mental health problem, know that you are not alone.
These issues are so diverse and everyone experiences them differently. The way we talk about it can have a major impact on someone’s emotional health. Be kind, be empathetic.
If you want to talk about your mental health issue to a counsellor, call the helpline number 18602662345, it’s toll-free and managed by the Vandrevala Foundation, one of India’s most reputed NGOs for psychiatric ailments.
(This article was first published on 10 October 2016. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark World Health Day on 7 April 2017.)
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