What We Need To Know About Mental Illness Before We Can Overcome The Associated Stigma

We often take our mental health for granted. Society tells us that feeling overwhelmed due to stress or venting out our emotions is a sign of weakness. We don’t take any action against stress as we are told to accept it as a part of everyday lives.

It was reported earlier this year, that over 7.5 per cent of Indians are affected by mental health issues, and by next year, the number will increase to 20 percent. Yet we remain silent and ignorant, because “aisa toh hota hi hai, ismein kaunsi badi baat hai?” (This happens often, what is the big deal about it?)

According to WHO, India has one of the highest rates of depression. It is evident that an open and honest conversation about our population’s mental health is needed.

In recent times, things have changed, thanks to the likes of Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, and Rohan Joshi coming forward with their stories of struggles with mental health issues. However somewhere, mental illnesses still have a negative connotation.

In order to remove the stigma that comes with mental health, we need to talk about it more openly, and for that to happen we first need to educate ourselves about mental illness that exists in the first place.

It was reported earlier this year, that over 7.5 per cent of Indians are affected by mental health issues, and by next year, the number will increase to 20 percent.

Here are the main types of mental health disorders explained in a simple manner:

  • Anxiety Disorders: These are characterised by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with daily life. Eg: Panic Attacks, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood Disorders: These are characterised by serious changes in mood that may interfere with daily life. Eg: Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Psychotic disorders: Mental Disorders characterised by a disconnection from reality. Eg: Schizophrenia
  • Dementia: A group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions.
  • Eating Disorder: Mental disorders characterised by abnormal eating habits affect a person’s mental and physical health. Eg: Anorexia, Bulimia.

These are just some of the many mental health disorders. While some can be treated by counselling, others such as Schizophrenia or BPD need more intensive care and can be controlled by a combination of psychiatric treatment and counselling.

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