Opening Up About Mental Health - Eastern Mirror
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Opening Up About Mental Health

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 13, 2023 12:07 am

Mental health is one of the biggest challenges people around the world are facing today. In a shocking remark, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, which was observed earlier this week, that one in eight people live with a mental health condition and yet too many people cannot access quality mental health care. “There is no health without mental health” he said, while calling for respecting mental health as a human right. The COVID-19 pandemic was an eye-opener, especially for societies that were sidelining the issue, to take it seriously. Studies showed that the issue is only getting worse, thanks to growing competition, poor working environment, discrimination, excessive workload, etc., besides socio-economic reasons. It is more than just the absence of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. The WHO defines it as a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. It is vital in every stage of life, though more critical during childhood and adolescence, as it affects how one thinks, feels, responds to situations, acts and make choices; lack of support for those needing help can reduce productivity, quality of life and even life expectancy. But the underlying cause of the issue remains unaddressed, especially in developing societies due to the reluctance to speak up on the matter and seek help. Naga society also falls into this category.

The growing prevalence of mental health issue in Naga society is obvious but it’s rarely talked about, let alone providing support and addressing the needs of those with such disorders. Having a mental illness is still considered a taboo in our society. The social stigma and discrimination attached to it has prevented both men and women from speaking up about their mental health. While society expects women to conduct their life in a certain manner, live with discriminatory norms and restrictions in the name of tradition, that too sans social security, their male counterparts are supposed to be mentally and emotionally strong, and shedding tears is seen as weak. But this surely doesn’t serve well on their mental health; most people don’t know where to find help, and some get caught in the web of bad habits including substance abuse. It’s time our society accept the existence of mental health issue, remove stigma attached to it, promote open conversation and create a support system for those who need help. Emphasis should be placed on raising awareness about mental health among school-going children and teenagers to help them cope with stress better and for early intervention. It’s important to talk about mental health and with an open mind.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 13, 2023 12:07:15 am
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