01 Jul, 2019

When we talk about health, it includes physical, mental and social well being.Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well being. Our mental health affects our day to day activities, how we think, feel or act. It affects our choices, our ability to handle stress and relate to other people. Mental health is as important as physical health at every stage of life. Mental health is about wellness rather than illness. This means that there is a difference between mental health and mental health conditions. Research shows that a good mental health is associated with increased learning, skilldevelopment, creativity and productivity.It is a major concern worldwide and India isn’t far behind in sharing this.19% of adult population, 46% teenagers and 13% children are affected by mental health illness each year. Anyone could be struggling with be mental health and we need a lot more awareness about it, for people to realized that it is absolutely normal to visit a doctor when one feels not so good about their mental health as it is to visit a doctor when one suffers from some physical ailment. People often fail to seek help and only half of those affected receive treatment, because of the stigma attached to it. Untreated mental illness can contribute to poor performance at school or workplace and an increased risk of suicide. Dozens of mental illness have been identified and defined. They include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and many more. Signs and symptoms of mental illness depend in part on the illness and some common ones are:

  • Feeling down for a while
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or activities
  • Low energy or sleeping problems
  • Often feeling angry, hostile or violent
  • Feeling paranoid, hearing voices or having hallucinations
  • Often thinking about death or suicide

People with Mental health illness have long felt that they are different from others. Indeed, discussions of mental illness tend to speak about ‘people with mental illness as if they are a foreign group few of us ever encounter. The reality is that mental illness is so common, in fact, that a recent study claims that it’s a life unmarred by mental illness that’s the real anomaly. The invisible line between mind and body is imaginary. Our thoughts reside in the brain, and the brain lives in the body. It’s affected by what we eat, how we spend our time, and our overall health. Good mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It can be seen as a state of mental health that allows one to flourish and fully enjoy life. The ability to cope up with negative experiences varies from person to person and in today’s date the mental health issues have been increasing and greatly affect the young population. Students, teens are constantly suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and it has become more common since the last few years. Some factors that affect the mental health of the youth are:

Self-esteem-This is the value we place on ourselves, our positive self image and sense of self worth. People with high self esteem generally have a positive outlook and are satisfied with themselves most of the time.

Feeling loved-Children who feel loved, trusted and accepted by their parents and people around them are more likely to have a good self esteem. They are more likely to feel comfortable, secure, and are better at relationships and  communicating with others.

Confidence-Young people who are brought up in an environment where they develop confidence in themselves are more likely to have a positive attitude and lead a happy, productive life.

Family break up or loss-Family problems, loss of a parent, sibling are painful. These can trigger mental illness like depression or Post traumatic stress disorder. These adverse effects can hinder their creative minds from thinking rationally.

Difficult behavior-When people are unhappy, they internalize their happiness or act out.The latter appears as bad or difficult behavior, such as abusive language, being violent or aggressive, refusing to comply with requests or expectations at school or home, or displaying other inappropriate behavior.

Physical  ill health-Diseases, injuries and other physical problems often contribute to poor mental health and sometimes mental illness. Some physical causes such as birth trauma, brain injury or drug abuse can directly affect brain chemistry and contribute to mental illness. More importantly, poor physique can affect self esteem and people’s ability to meet their goals which leads to unhappiness or even depression.

Abuse-The mental health of abused children is at great risk. Abused children are more likely to experience mental health illness or mental health disorders during childhood into adulthood. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological or verbal. Abuse lowers self esteem, lack of self confidence, depression, isolation and anger; all feelings that impair a child’s chance to lead a happy life. There are several other genetic factors that also contribute to mental health illness.

Presently we need to make people more aware about the importance of mental health and the various types of mental health illness. More than that we need people to accept that it is as normal as any physical ailment and seeking medical help is the first thing to do. We need to provide them with quality education.

More awareness about a good mental health and creating an environment for children from a young age, at home as well as school is important. Mental health awareness week is celebrated in May. It begins from home and then school. Educating children from a young age can help in eliminating the stigma attached to it by making them future ready to deal with it.