In India, we live in a collectivist society. The community that we live in has the power to shape our ideology and identity, to a large extent. We share common goals while standard, unwritten rules dictate how we behave and treat one another. Since the ideas of the collective are more important than that of individual, even our attitudes largely reflect the beliefs of our community. Sometimes, being a part of this collective can help relieve feelings of isolation and loneliness; however, at other times, we tend to ostracize people within our own community, who may not fit the norm. These individuals could include people with mental illness.
Stigma against people with mental illness is a rampant issue that plagues the Indian society. These attitudes may lead to prejudice. Further, this discrimination could be a reason why people with mental illness are so hesitant to seek help. While 1 in 5 individuals suffer from a mental illness, only 10-12% are likely to seek aid for it (source).
In the study “The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) 2018 National Survey: How India Perceives Mental Health”, stigma was defined as the negative and often unfair beliefs held against people with mental illness. When asked to describe people with mental illness, almost half of the respondents used the words like ‘Retard’ and ‘Crazy/Mad/Stupid’, which may indicate stigma.