What is mental health ?
The world health organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope up with the stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make contributions to his or her community. Mental Health according to Ayurveda is defined as when a person enjoys a balance of physical and psychological elements of energies produced in the body, and of tissues in the organs combined with proper elimination of wastes, a happy soul, a happy functioning mind and proper functioning of the five senses. It is that illness that can never be ignored because it affects our daily life and is directly connected to the fact of behavioral disorders. Mental health quote that comes to my mind is:
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”Glenn Close
Mental health day is observed on 10 October every year but what are the mental health issues that make it a need for observing the mental health day? Do we find difficulty coping up with the mental health issues? Being mentally healthy means being resilient and able to cope with difficult times, feeling in control, being confident, feeling good about your self, Managing, and expressing your emotions, building, and maintaining good relationships.
We all experience periods when we feel stressed, worried, anxious, sad, afraid, or angry. These are all normal emotions however when these emotions become severe enough that it interferes with the person’s ability to function daily and these feelings become persistent over time then it can develop into a mental health problem.
Mental Health in India:- In India according to the statistics over 45% of the teens suffer from a mental disorder and one in five teens suffer from a severe mental illness and that’s become 20% of the teen’s population. The Mental health of adults in India or across the world is also not up to the mark, the awareness of facts about mental health is still not a cup of tea of every individual.
Different types of mental disorders :-
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social phobia
- Bipolar disorder
- Post mental depression
- Eating disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Mental illness is a brain function disorders. They have many causes and result from complex interactions between a person’s genes and their environment.
How does Mental Health affect?
For explaining how not being mentally healthy affects your daily life , let me share a friend’s incident with you .
A Real life incident
My long time friend recently reached out to me on this certain topic. I always looked at her and considered her the bravest soul I had met. She had lost her father while in school and no-one but I knew about it. She came to give her exam just two days after his demise. I thought to myself that I could have never done that. I wouldn’t have the courage to come out in public let alone give your end semester exams. She was a hero to me.
But was she really fine? I sometimes feel ashamed of myself that I fell for her act. I should have been there for her, I of all people should have known.
After nearly three years after the incident, she came to seek solace in me one night. She was diagnosed with social anxiety and mild depression four years ago. Yes, that was one year before her father left us. She knew something was wrong with her but she couldn’t tell anyone. Being mentally ill is still considered taboo all around the world even in this modern era. She couldn’t concentrate in school and talking to people became a struggle. Every time someone would make eye contact with her, it would scare her and she quickly shifted her gaze. This wasn’t the only thing that prompted her to go seek professional help. Heart palpitation, shortness of breath, and sadness were becoming common.
Once she was able to have an initial diagnosis she decided it was time for asking a professional but even now she couldn’t gather the courage to tell her family and friends. The fact that she could be considered insane scared her. She went to a local psychiatric hospital alone. Since she was a minor her family came to know eventually. At first, it was difficult for them to understand too. Her mother wasn’t ready to come in terms with her daughter’s illness. She didn’t consider it a problem and thought she could be fixed at home by sleeping and resting for a time.
My friend was struggling every day with this mental trauma. She doesn’t remember what really started it but maybe it was all of us. We weren’t observant enough. I myself didn’t know what was going on. She started being left out from groups and was always distracted gazing into nothingness. It was then that her mother couldn’t see her daughter struggle and supported her.
They went to good professionals and had weekly sessions. She was initially very scared and was afraid of being judged. She was prescribed medicines and apart from that, she was suggested to meditate and practice having a positive outlook in life, She still faces some problems while talking to new people but is a lot better now. Her treatment is still going on but she has recovered a lot and I hope and pray she gets better soon.
But the question still remains. Why did she have to struggle alone for such a long time? Why was she scared even to confide in her family and friends? Perhaps it was us who pushed her to the edge; the society that doesn’t consider mental well-being at all.
What Mental Health does to you?
Another question that needs to be answered is how being mentally healthy or not healthy affects us in our day to day life ? Let’s discuss.
- A person who is mentally ill and is left untreated with his mental disorders can turn it to chronic and long-lasting illness that is often associated with increased disability. They significantly have an impact on daily functioning and frequently interfere with family, social, and work responsibilities.
- Mood Swings: Whilst everyone experiences mood swings to a certain degree, extreme mood swings can be characteristic of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, and are a symptom of other mental illnesses including schizoaffective disorder and personality disorders.
- Erratic thinking: Mental illness can cause personality changes in adults. They start imagining situations that are never going to happen or had never happened in the past. This mental illness is called Schizophrenia. Issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD can certainly cause personality changes. Mental illness can be a result of a number of factors including experience, genetics, or even physical injury or illness.
- Chronic anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder often occurs along with other mental health problems, which can make diagnosis and treatment more challenging. Some mental health disorders that commonly occur with a generalized anxiety disorder include Phobias, panic disorder, and many more but anxiety is what allows one to self criticize which leads to depression and many mental problems.
- An exaggerated sense of self-worth: Narcissistic personality disorder (NOD) is defined as an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a great need for admiration. The hallmark definition of narcissistic personality disorder is grandiosity – the exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Impulsive actions: A person with an impulse control disorder is often unable to resist the sudden, forceful urge to do something that may violate the rights of others or bring about conflict with societal norms. These impulsive behaviors may occur repeatedly, quickly, and without consideration of the consequences of that behaviour.
Signs of Mental Illness
Mental illness makes the thing you do in life harder than usual, like work and socializing. It’s also not always clear when a problem with mood or thinking has become serious enough to be a concern. Some signs that will let you reach an initial diagnosis about your mental health are:
- Reduced concentration and memory.
- Difficulty in making decisions .
- Irritable and angry all the time .
- Avoid certain situations .
- Self-criticism and blame .
- Neglecting Responsibilities.
- Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene.
However you must keep in mind that these are not the completely decisive and you shouldn’t be scared if you find that you are facing some of these. You should seek help and guidance from a professional as soon as possible.
What stops our people from seeking help?
Very few people with mental disorders access existing treatment services . These may be due to barriers such as:
- The social stigma attached to seeking help.
- The lack of understanding of mental health problems.
- Uncertainty of how to get help.
- The fear of being judged after disclosing mental health problems.
Research shows that stigma remains one of the biggest factors preventing people from seeking help early from their mental health problems and getting the appropriate support they need.
Ask for help and be there for friends who come to you
People who are struggling emotionally and mentally often just need to be heard. Instead of trying to solve the problem maybe we should try and listen. We need to gain their confidence and be aware that mental health is just as important as physical health. Your mental health can never be ignored.
You should know when it is time to reach for professional help as well. You need to start talking and know that this isn’t something you can deal with alone. Your family and friends will always be there for you. They love you and seeing you struggling with mental disorders and unhappy, not only affects you but them as well. It is easier to get help when you have someone’s support. This isn’t something you should be ashamed of and is rather common.
You are not alone.
Things to do when you reach a definite diagnosis
This is not a thing to be taken lightly. These can deeply effect your daily lifestyle if not treated properly. There are many professional support options:
- Your school counselors: Your school counselor is there with you every time and specifically for you to talk with them when you are facing such an emotional crisis. It takes months to get back to your normal routine however you mustn’t be afraid.
- Psychologists: Psychologists offer a wide range of assessments and treatment options to those struggling with mental health issues. They are here to improve an individual’s quality of life in times of crisis, but they are also there to prevent relapse and maintaining care. It is their profession and they will never judge you for facing this.
- Social workers: Social workers work with people to assess, resolve, prevent, or lessen the impact of psycho-social and mental health-related issues. They will help you anytime you reach out to them.
- Local community health center: Local health community center will give you treatment and guidelines which you have to follow during this healing period and you will get better faster than you know.
- Ayurvedic treatment: Ayurvedic treatment for mental health disorders can help also help you to overcome this situation. Complementary therapies are often used in addition to conventional forms of medicine (allopathic treatment) and Ayurveda is becoming increasingly popular among people as a method to reduce drug dependence. Though ayurvedic medicines are administered to complement medication prescribed by psychiatrists, it is found that psychiatry or the science of the mind is embedded in very definition of Ayurveda.
Supporting yourself in this situation is hard but hang in there. You are doing well and will overcome this.
On personal level
Besides seeking professional help you can do some things at your own level. Mental health worsens when you are idle. An empty mind is home of the devil. Start something new, something you always wished to do but couldn’t do because of a lack of confidence. You just need to take a leap of faith and everything would be fine.
- You can also start meditation and yoga. It has always helped me when I am struggling and can’t think properly and will definitely help you too.
- Traveling can greatly help in curing yourself from within. A change in atmosphere and lifestyle often helps really well.
- Sleep well and do not lose hope, stay motivated.
The best way to conquer something is to understand it completely. You can learn about social anxiety and mental health at
It is important to acknowledge that we all have mental health and have a personal responsibility to learn how we can improve and maintain our well-being in order to live a meaningful and satisfying life.
If you need to share something we are always here for you. Reach out to us and we’ll hear you out.
Suggested read: How to focus on studies without getting distracted.
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