Raising Awareness about Mental Health

Just as we prioritize our physical health by exercising and eating well, it is equally important to care for our mental health. Creating a non-judgmental and supportive environment is a collective effort. It is imperative that we encourage open conversations about mental health and awareness of mental health problems to ensure that people feel comfortable seeking help when needed. By being aware, understanding, and compassionate, we can contribute to breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and create a society where everyone feels accepted and supported.

Raising awareness for mental health can be done at the following levels:

At the School/College level

As students navigate the challenges of school, friendships, relationships, and the ever-changing world around them, it is crucial to raise awareness for mental health.  Mental health is as important as physical health, and students should be encouraged to prioritize their mental health and physical health in equal measure. They should exercise daily, eat nutritious meals, sleep well, take regular breaks, and seek help from a trusted adult or professional as needed. Further, teachers and parents can act as effective gatekeepers to support students in their adolescent journey.

At a Professional level

42.5% of the Indian workforce suffers from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. It is, therefore, crucial to implement awareness and training programs regarding mental illness and their treatment among the working population, in addition to encouraging them to seek help. Incorporating effective ways to raise awareness for mental health becomes pivotal in addressing these concerns and promoting a supportive workplace culture.

At a Clinician’s level (General Practitioners/GPs)

GPs are often the first line of defence against mental health issues. Since certain mental illnesses can have physiological signs, it is not uncommon for most individuals to see a general physician before visiting a psychiatrist or mental health practitioner. It therefore, becomes vital to ensure that all GPs are trained and sensitized about mental health concerns. 

At a Community level

India is a collectivist society, and hence when we encounter hardships, we tend to speak to a friend or a family member. If the Indian community has some awareness about mental health concerns and their impact on individuals, then the friends or family members may find it easier to spot early signs of mental illness and then direct the concerned individual to the required resources or professional support.

It is vital to create awareness for mental health at these different levels, in order to approach mental health in India more holistically.

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