Mental health talk is anything but easy to talk about. How can I talk about depression when I have a well-paying job? Or if people know that I’m prone to anxiety, will that affect my appraisal? Some even assume talking about mental health may affect their marriage prospects! These are legitimate concerns to talking about mental health issues. Well, not talking about it keeps you in the dark.
Ignorance is definitely not bliss when it comes to your overall health. It’s time we address the pink elephant in the room and that elephant could be depressed, may have a bipolar disorder or could be stressed to the core.
A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 6% of Indian population, regardless of being urban or rural, suffers from a serious form of mental disease. It may seem small, but this figure is likely to increase every year.
Some Legitimate Concerns
A mentally fit person may experience high cholesterol or low blood pressure. In a similar way, a perfectly healthy person may face some minor mental issues. You don’t necessarily have to swing on either side of the pendulum. That is going extreme, although major mental health issues need immediate treatment. Nevertheless, it is not a question of either or. You can be a normal person with minor health issues which is more likely treatable too.
If you or your loved one struggles with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, it doesn’t mean they are lesser human beings. Just like a person with diabetes can be mentally strong, a person with mental health issues can be physically fit too.
Another concern is that people with mental health issues tend to be violent. This is not true at all. Many picture a mentally ill patient getting electric shock treatments and living in mental asylums. You must know that poverty, drug abuse, etc. are actually the contributing factors to violent crimes. People with mental health issues are not violent.
Bad parenting affecting mental health is a legitimate concern. This is a big weight of worrying parents who want to give their best to children. You must know that children with the best upbringing may also suffer from mental health issues. That has nothing to do with parenting styles but everything to do with genes or their external and internal interactions.
In that context, mental health issues are never a reflection of the person’s moral character. It’s not because of voodoo or black magic; personality or anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental illnesses can result from a hormonal or neurological imbalance in your body, for example how postpartum depression after childbirth.
The Unseen Struggles
Mental health issues are often bolted deep and never talked about or even thought about in our society. Addiction to smoking, alcohol or even self-medication is a common struggle. If you feel depressed or stressed, it is easier to go have a smoke or drink alcohol. It “treats” your pain for the moment. Excessive use of any substance, even coffee for that matter, is a big problem. To be honest, not everyone takes their mental health needs seriously these days. Is it because there are no “visible” signs of mental illness? It is not like getting a fever or stomach ache. Many avoid getting treatment because of this. So that should not stop you from getting help, getting treatment for your mental health issues.
Work as a Contributing Factor
Everyone faces a lot of stress at every walk of life. Think about the baby who is just learning how to walk. They stand up and wobble to find their balance and plop! They are on the floor, again. Babies are resilient that way; they get up and try again. It must frustrate you but this kind of stress in small doses is good. It motivates you and this is the exact stress that boosts productivity at workplaces. You don’t have to imagine what stress at long period does to your mental and physical health. With long working hours, short weekends, unreasonable deadlines you eventually burn out and break yourself, right? And to think this innuendo is costing employers $300 billion a year!
A Supportive Workplace
It makes more business sense to prioritise employees’ well-being. The staff that works in a supportive environment with approachable HR representatives, line managers, and senior managers are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal. This is more to do with encouraging employees to openly talk about their mental issues, than being polite or following policies.
Students, employees, employers, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, mothers, toddlers, everyone faces a lot of pressure these days. Pressure to excel, pressure to perform, pressure to make more profits and the pressure to raise kids in an expensive digital world. While some want to conquer the world, their mental health issues are put on a back burner. If you are under a lot of stress, it’s time to get help before it’s too late. Do you or your loved ones struggle with mental health issues? Remember, with counseling and therapy, these issues are treatable. Tell your loved ones you worry about their health. Be encouraged to adopt the right treatment for mental health problems.