Friday, December 9, 2022

Mental Health Awareness and why it is important

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Significance of understanding Mental Health and its various forms

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Before we proceed with the Awareness of Mental Health, it is necessary to understand what it is. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, psychological and social well being. Mental health is a reflection of both thoughts and actions. Additionally it effects our ability to handle pressures in various situations and stages of life.

Factors affecting Mental Health

An individual’s health consists of 3 components, Physical, Biological and Mental Health. Thus Mental Health plays a significant role in ones life. It is not a single factor that results in mental health problems, but a sum of many factors. Here are some factors that contributed immensely towards it. There are 3 main factors:

  • Biological Factors such as Genes or Brain Chemistry
  • Physical Factors such as Injury
  • Hereditary such as Family history of Genes

Mental Health: Common Misconception and Taboos

Although we are in the 21st century, there are a lot of misconceptions and Taboos associated with ‘Mental Health in India. Most individuals still rely on perceived notions and beliefs. There are many instances listed in our epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana that speak of mental health. During those times many individuals would not know how to react to these situations. Although in our Vedic texts there is a mention of mental diseases such as Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. During those times Unani treatment was the only remedy available.

Ayurveda and Mental Health

Ayurveda became popular and it focused on the analysis of body and mind. Various rulers practiced a set of solutions consisting of herbal remedies, Yoga Exercises and oils. Emperor Ashoka is credited with creation of first mental Hospitals of the country. Common beliefs listed in the table were compared between Urban and Rural India. Here are the striking findings:

  • More individuals in the cities refer Mental Illness as disease
  • Most people from rural background don’t associate it with children
  • People in rural areas associate the disease due to past sin
  • More number of rural people associate it due to pollution
  • People in urban set up associate it due to neural imbalance and a traumatic childhood
Mental health Beliefs
Mental health Beliefs

Pandemic and its effects on Mental Health

As mentioned earlier, Mental Health is a state of our emotional and social well-being and it impacts all our actions and beliefs. It is not limited to any age, gender or social status. From small children to adults and from housewives to corporate heads, Lockdown has impacted the mental health of all individuals. Lesser social interaction and limited sources of entertainment has created pressures leading to a toll on ones health. Our ministry of Health has time and again cautioned everyone to be alert of their mental health and seek help when required.

Common Types of Mental Problems

There are many forms in which Mental illness can occur. Here are 5 common Mental disorders.

1. Anxiety

 This is a mental disorder in which an individual feels restless and tired and panic. Common symptoms include seats, lack of sleep and High Blood Pressure.

2. Depression

During this condition, people feel low, hopeless and lack of interest to do anything. A personal tragedy or loss can trigger depression in the individuals. Children also suffer from the problem

3. Schizophrenia

The state happens when the individual is having illusions as compared to reality. This kind of disorder generally occurs when the individual has false beliefs as compared to reality.In case you know any individual who suffers from the disease, seek medical help immediately.

The symptoms of Schizophrenia may vary depending on the individual and they usually include:

  • Delusion
  • Hallucinations and illusions
  • Disordered thinking
  • Disordered behaviour
  • Flat affect- lack of emotional expression
  • Agitation
  • Inappropriate reactions
  • Phobia
  • Lack of pleasure or interest in activities
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Decreased speech output

4. Change in Behavior

Disordered and Inappropriate reactions are two common changes in behaviour seen in a person having issues of Mental Health. Frustrations and blame game are the common symptoms of mental disorders.

5.Excessive Eating

Individuals who suffer from mental health issues have serious eating orders. Either they binge eat or starve themselves. They mainly suffer from Bulimia and Anorexia

Mental Health Awareness Tips

People have neglected their mental health. Owing to their busy life style and a work life imbalance the stress is obvious. Here are some Mental Health Awareness tips.

  • Talk more often to your family and friends and share your problems.
  • Be involved with activities that give you pleasure eg Gardening, Walking, Cycling etc.
  • Form Groups to do stress busters meditation and Yoga
  • Spend more time with family and friends.
  • Take a good night rest.

Also read: What is Parkinson’s Disease?

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