Mental Health Awareness in Early Adults
These days “mental health” is a term which is being used widely and for various reasons as well. It is particularly very much used among youth or early adults in reference to various situations, which sometimes may not be appropriately justified. So, a major question that arises here is whether they are fully aware of the concept of mental health or not?
Majorly stats suggest that, even today, a large section of our population belonging to the category of early adulthood are unaware about the complete concept of “Mental Health”. They largely depend on the incomplete information that they hear from their environment and therefore, lack in the understanding of the concept thoroughly.
Mental health in simple terms is “a state of well-being wherein, the person realizes their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work fruitfully and productively, and is able to make a contribution to the society for a greater good” as suggested by WHO. But, in reality the understanding of mental health is much more than this. It requires an individual to understand their behavior and abilities in terms of their environment, culture, relationships, and even their physical well-being.
Early adulthood, as defined in Layman language is anyone belonging to an age range of 19-30 years of age. This spectrum of age is taken to be the most productive section of a society, but sadly enough, this is the section of the society which is widely effected by mental health crisis.
Early adulthood is a very complicated age for an individual. During early adulthood, an individual is expected to have sorted their lives at least in terms of their choice of carrier, and education mainly. At this point of time, there are many stressors in the environment already acting on them. They have problem dealing with their adults, who unfortunately and mostly unintentionally pressurize them for various reasons such as the carrier they choose, the decisions they make regarding their lives and such.
Also during this point of time they have many relationships with changing dynamics. They have to maintain balance between friends at times in order to adjust to new life of college. They have to fight their adults in order to get a sense of independence. They also have to struggle between romantic relationships in order to accommodate their changing lives’ dynamics. In total, they need to prioritize their responsibilities with respect to family, career, friends, and individual choices.
In between such struggle and managing these above stated issues, they have to take care of themselves, which they mostly forget. This is not just the case for people in early adulthood but also in different sections of the society. In the race of establishing themselves as a useful resource, and do any good for the society, they often fail to realize their deeper potentials as an individual.
Furthermore, this is the time period where they majorly suffer from identity crisis. They find it hard to adjust to the changing expectations of others and have a sense of belongingness. For many, this period of time may turn out to be beneficial and help them in establishing themselves positively in the society. Whereas, for others it might turn into a situation where they find it hard to escape from.
Since, a major part of our society is still unaware of mental health and its importance, the early adults suffering from such issues like depression, identity crisis, anxiety, and many more find it hard to seek any kind of support from their elders or even friends. This furthermore, creates a barrier for them to open up and fully acknowledge and accept their shortcomings.
Sometimes early adults neglect their signs and symptoms of mental health sufferings because of their lack of knowledge. They themselves are unable to take up the cues such as over sleeping or lack of sleep, overly eating or lack of appetite, withdrawal from friends and family, consistently low on energy, overly exploiting substances like drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol, and mood swings are some examples.
Unawareness about mental health, whether it is about its positive implications and aspects or the negative aspects such as disorders like depression, anxiety, etc., is still prevalent. People still think that a person suffering from depression might simply be throwing excuses and tantrums to escape work, or may simply just be upset about something minor yet making a big fuss about it. Society still seem to believe that there is nothing like panic attacks or anxiety attacks that can hamper normal functioning of an individual. Due to such societal stigmas people still find it difficult to seek help from professionals.
In this era where most of the people are using social media as a huge platform for spreading their views, challenging the traditional norms in a more non-violent way, and other positive influences, social media can as well as is being used by many to spread awareness about the mental health issues, and tapping many sections of the society.
But since, literacy is still a very important factor causing barrier in reaching out to masses of our population therefore, unawareness still persists. Since, a major section of early adulthood belongs to the economically weaker section of the society thereby, creating the literacy barrier.
Thus, in understanding, there are several reasons for presence of unawareness among the early adult. They may be influenced by the family and societal culture, affected by the societal taboos, incomplete information about the concepts, and illiteracy, are few of the major and frequently faced challenges.
Since, it is believed that early adults are the cream of any population. They are the future of the country in terms of economy, as well as mind set development. Therefore, it is highly important that, sensitive issues like mental health are discussed among such population. Furthermore, it is important that we not only educate them for the same, but, also tackle their questions generated out of their curiosity. This must be done by a wisely educated source so that, any cognitive dissociations related are cleared and replaced by more adaptive thinking.
For creating awareness in such settings, is very challenging because of the reluctance being shown by both the target population as well as their environment which holds them back from changing?
The need of the hour is to help the youth: the future of the population to understand that suffering from a mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. It is necessary to accept your problems and deal with them with them appropriately and at right time, and through the right help. For this to achieve, we as a society also need to come together to put up a platform for our youth majorly, where such sensitive issues are discussed and solved without being judged or repress. It has been scientifically proven as well, that if, the mind of a person is happy then to a major extent their physical health also improves. Thus, if want a healthy futuristic society for us to live in, then we need to give equal importance to the mental health of every section of the society, but, what is better than starting with the roots: our youth, early adults.