The Umbrella of Mental Health

MENTAL HEALTH, reading these two words itself create lots of confusion, doubts, questions and fear in one’s heart and mind. It’s because the Indian society has not been much exposed to the positive side of mental health, or can rather say it has never been talked about in Indian families.

Ever wondered why mental health holds so much importance? It’s always said, you can’t give someone something until you yourself don’t own it. Such as; you can’t lend money to someone unless you earn, you can’t share knowledge unless you have gained it. Similarly, you can’t share happiness or calmness, unless you don’t feel it. Often people who are mentally healthy tend to create healthy environment within themselves as well as with people around them.

Imagine your self being surrounded by people who often express sadness, unhealthy negative thoughts whenever you meet them be it home , office , party etc. Would you approach them in future? No Right!!! If we ourselves do not wish to be around such people, in the similar manner people around us will be reacting in the same manner. If we do not create a healthy mental health environment within and around us, no other person will willingly proceed with us.

Definitely sometimes experiencing unhealthy mental health is absolutely normal as we are not robots and machines. We have a beautiful heart and powerful mind which we are gifted with, our emotions and thoughts and therefore sometimes it does become difficult to control them. And since, we experience and express these emotions, it makes us Human. Our dear and near ones who understand us, may or may not be much affected by our unhealthy mental health pattern, but we being unique individuals need to take care of our mental well-being. Our routine comprises of many known and unknown people who influences us directly or indirectly, positive or negative and hence this is the situation where we need to protect our state of mind by using the shield for our thoughts, behaviour and actions.

In our life, half of the stability comes through our mental health. As rightly said,

“Our emotional stability affects our physical health”,

such as, when a person faces anxiety or stress, there are high chances of them facing high blood pressure, muscle pain, asthma and so on. All of us at some point of our life, have come across a situation where crying becomes the only way to release the pressure and experience a peaceful sleep. What leads to such outcome? We outburst our emotional factor in such a way that our body gets tired and drained out as well as we feel light after expressing our inner emotions through which we often tend to have a sound sleep. We often hear doctors saying regarding their patient that medicine alone won’t work, it’s necessary for the person to be happy and stable. Why? Because 50% of the recovery depends on the individual’s mental health as well as their surroundings.

Mental health, in real terms is defined as a healthy state of mind just like the healthy body that helps individuals to face difficulties in life and increase their resistance power to deal in different situations. We often maintain or sustain our daily routine by uploading photos on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. and keep ourselves up to date in order to get likes, comments, followers which increases the longevity of updating oneself. Similarly, we need to take care of our mental health every single day by retaining our emotional health in right perspective in order to increase the longevity of cordial and harmonious life.

An individual needs to take care of mental health every day before it falls under the bracket of disorder. For example, it’s crucial to treat the early symptoms before it gets medically diagnosed just like treating anxiety with therapies before it becomes anxiety disorder where taking medications becomes a necessity. Does anyone like consuming medicines willingly? NO! Because, the mere acceptance of consuming medicine to cure a mental disorder again creates a havoc in Indian society. As we often fall into the bracket of “LOG KYA SOCHENGE AUR KAHENGE?” Due to which the condition is worsened. However it is equally important to understand that even if there comes a situation where consuming medicines is necessary, there is no harm in it. Wouldn’t we consume medicine if we have some allergy or physical sickness? That seems to be customary right? We don’t fear at that time about the perspective and judgemental views of the society as we know it’s for our betterment, for us to get well soon. Similarly, if the condition expects an individual to consume medicine to cope with the symptoms of a medically diagnosed disorder it is equally usual and acceptable.

Mental health can be explained in two ways: One of which talks about Psychiatric Concerns such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Autism, OCD, Schizophrenia, Depression, Personality Disorder, Eating Disorder, Trauma related disorders, Substance abuse disorders and many more. Whereas, it’s another aspect talks about Daily life hassles such as Stress , Anxiety , Phobia , Dysfunctional thoughts , Relationship issues between partners or family members , Anger management, Domestic violence, Elder care, Parenting issues. Now, we often see individuals confused while deciding whom to consult – a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?

In a very basic way, Psychologist are the professionals who help individuals with their socio-emotional-behavioural and developmental concerns with the help of different therapies suitable for different individuals. Whilst Psychiatrist is the one who, with the help of medication tries to control the symptoms of the disorder. However, depending on the situation both psychologist and psychiatrist works as a team for the betterment of the client’s stability. And if needed, Occupational therapist, Special educator are also enrolled in the team to help individuals to maintain and improve the skills they need for their daily routine.

After this, there comes a next question which is ‘when to consult a mental health professional?’ It is more difficult than it seems to decide the right time. We end up taking suggestions from our friends and neighbours for our problem and they end up giving advice and suggestions which are based on their experience and why not that is the only thing we get free of cost, sometimes it does work out and that is indeed awesome, but many a times, even after trying out different ways, situations don’t improve. There comes a point, when you don’t need advice or suggestions rather, you need solutions to the problem, to the thoughts, emotions and behaviour, about how to modify and control them, about how to shift your situation from worse to better. Mental Health Professionals believe every individual is unique and that the individuals are not any kind of laboratory animal to attempt experiments on them through their personal experience. These professionals will never judge any individual by his or her past or current behaviour, they will consider the condition/behaviour to be inappropriate or to be treated and not the person i.e.:

“An Individual is not bad or wrong, it’s the behaviour/condition that has to be treated”

Therefore, there is no age bar for individuals to consult a mental health professionals. They are ready to help all individuals, be it a school going child or an elderly person. As the studies says that a person faces different emotional and developmental concerns as per his or her age criteria during their entire life time. And therefore, we cannot restrict the age bar as a reason for not providing help. For example, a child as per his age may be facing problems regarding experiencing emotions , toilet training , relation with peers , competitions, confidence etc., whereas the youth as per their age may be having their concerns related to career , family , relationships , marriage, children etc. and with respect to the elderly, generic population as per their age come across concerns such as loss of partner , feeling lonely , being dependent on others ,feeling of despair vs. integrity , fear of death. Therefore, stable emotions, behaviour, functioning and adjustments are needed for a positive well-being in one’s life irrespective of his or her age.

We observe people positively approaching towards physical fitness even in their busy schedule by taking out time for gym, exercises, following a proper diet. Individual often focus on staying physically fit to feel amazing and positive about themselves and why shouldn’t they? As this in turn increases the chances of being more confident, having high self-esteem towards self and outside world. As loving yourself from physical outlook is important, similarly, in this hectic life, taking care of your mental health is equally needed.

We do use these high funda quotes such as,

“Expectations hurts” , “ Attachment is the best as well as worst thing in life” , “No sorry and Thank you in friendship”

and what not. Today’s generation, as soon as they experience some downfall start posting such quotes on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and WhatsApp. The question arises here is, by doing all this, does it really help one’s mental health? Makes one feel better? Or it still keeps you on the same page.

Just imagine going on a date with your partner or going for a family/friends gathering, all up to date dressed and set to go but at the same time emotional stability never stood up as the priority. You were stressed up that day, had a fight with someone, you were anxious for some reason. Do you think your physical look will be enough to sustain the happiness and enjoyment at the party? No, right!!!

Remember, we are humans and as stated before, we are made up of a beautiful heart and a powerful mind so having emotional breakdown is completely normal, all that matters is how do you take the situation ahead. How much do you allow the situation affect you in the longer run?

Today we almost try to copy the lifestyle from western culture such as the way we dress, eat, live as well as the way they think. But when it comes to consulting a mental health professional we are still lacking behind compared to other developed countries.

How about these thoughts?

We do consider the following situations as normal and acceptable such as:

• Consulting a physician when someone is suffering from fever.

• Consulting a dentist when someone has a tooth ache.

• Consulting a dermatologist when someone has skin concern.

Similarly, consulting a mental health professional should be considered normal and acceptable when in need.

About the Author

Hiral Amerchand
Psychologist.

Hiral Amerchand is a Psychologist by profession and has pursued her master’s degree from Mumbai University. She is currently working as a cou

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