Today on October 10, we are celebrating another mental health day and this year’s theme is “Increase investment in mental health”.
A few days ago, I asked my friends what mental illness meant to them. They replied, “When someone gets over-worried about normal things“. I felt proud, thinking that atleast my friend circle is aware of this important issue and suddenly another thought struck in my mind, “They would obviously know about such an important issue, after all, they’re also in their 20s like me.” But suddenly my friend completed his sentence and after hearing the full sentence, I felt worried.
The sentence was, “Mental illness means when someone gets over-worried about normal things and being over-worried is definitely his fault if he wants then he can stop, it’s his failure”. I was shocked and the fact that two 21-22-year-old people were describing mental illness in such a manner scared me.
Usually, we assume that people of this new generation are pretty aware of mental health but that conversation showed the mirror.
I will not go far I will just talk about my country “India” and my experience here. I might be wrong.
In India, nobody understands mental health problems. I know the word “nobody” is a hyperbole but here “nobody” stands for the majority. In India, even mental patients are not aware of mental health problems. They don’t know that they are unwell. Some people says mental health is an elite people issue and this narrative is so ridiculous. It simply shows the lack of awareness. So many today say that “mental health is just an illusion and people who have no work they get stuck in that illusion”.
Some other people say, “Mental illness is depression”. I will not say that I am very aware of this topic but I can say that I am as much aware of mental illness as I am about heart attack and I think this is enough. The main issue in our country is that we are not ready to accept that mental illnesses exist. We are losing people every year to mental health issues but we still think mental illness is a choice and it can be cured without any effort.
The first step to spread awareness on this topic is to accept the fact that mental illness is as normal as other physical illnesses. Sometimes, our activities are responsible for our physical illness, and the same is the case with mental illness. Sometimes by doing some efforts, we can cure our physical illness, same is the case with mental illness. Sometimes we are born with physical illness and we need a good treatment to cure that, same is the case with mental illness.
We all are born with different shapes and sizes, our body parts and conditions are as different as our physical appearance so if we are ready to accept a weak kidney, then why are we shy to accept weak mind?
If we are ready to accept different physical appearances then why don’t we accept that our mental appearances are also different?
When someone dies because of a heart attack, do we call him a looser? But when someone dies by suicide, why do people call them a looser?
Mental illness is not a choice, mental illness is not a crime, mental illness is not a shame.