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Neglecting Mental Health is a Collective Self-harm to Society

Struggling with the modern society norms and traditions, often facing the irrefutable stress of bullying from peers, undermining self-confidence, are some common traits which might otherwise go unnoticed. As the World Mental Health Day goes by we dwell deep into the issue.

How do you work towards relating them to the larger issue of mental health and work towards treating them especially when you get all the fear psychosis and negativity about such issues in your vicinity itself? The emotional, psychological and social endurance of an individual closely decides how he will react to a situation, feel and most importantly how will he think. Mental health problems do not come in unannounced or suddenly. They have a series of early warning signs which leave an individual with plenty of time to nib the issue in the bud itself. But here comes the biggest challenge of ‘accepting’ that there is an issue which needs instant attention and help. Research shows the maximum time lost in, is at this stage where a person facing a mental health issue takes time to accept and then opt for help. Acceptance does not comes easy since it does involve the equal acceptance and support of family, friends and near dear ones.

Mental Health and Global South

Alarming rates of anxiety, depression across the world especially in the global south have led some astonishing instances of persons being locked in chains in isolated rooms for years, surviving on prayers and spiritual remedies instead of proper medical and emotional care.

Developing countries find it difficult to even offer proper medical healthcare and vaccination services to its citizens. Mental health patients are the last priority. The public health infrastructure is so weak and mental health doctors so rare that most patients go unattended or misdiagnosed mostly.

Common beliefs, traditional notions like God’s wrath and a human’s sins of past birth are common cultural diagnosis which a patient has to suffer along with his own mental health problem.

Addressing the diverse cultural diagnosis

The ability of the healthcare professionals to educate and move ahead from these cultural references, integrate the mainstream health issues, development goals and mental health needs to build a robust society is the only way to address such challenges.

The local bodies and institutions which have more access to indigenous cultural fabric of the society needs to be involved so that the deep rooted beliefs are challenged and discarded at the earliest. There needs to be increased funding from donor and bilateral bodies to eradicate these public health infrastructure gaps and bring in more mental health professionals to the developing world. A series of behavior change campaigns need to be initiated so that public sham associated with such issues is eradicated for long term development and support from the society itself.

Political support and momentum to treat this as an urgency for a developed stable country is important. Mostly patients suffering mental health issues have been facing them since early childhood or adolescent days and these lead them being a part of criminalization and violent acts. Their power of distinction evades their need for recognition. Even a ‘bad’ recognition becomes a ‘good’ feeling for them. Therefore the mental health issues in a society do indicate a weak and underdeveloped social service infrastructure.

To treat such instances it’s equally important that you have a multipronged approach to build the society too.

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