Guest Blogger

Understanding Mental Health, Myths & Misconceptions

October 10, 2018

One in Every 20 people in India has depression that is around 56 million people to 66 million people and around & around 38 million people suffer from anxiety. Even with numbers this big, talking about mental health is a taboo here. People do not take mental health seriously. Nearly 50% of the mental health problems are established at the age of 14. So, today on the Mental Health Awareness Day, 10th October lets start a conversation on Mental Health & keep it going. Mental Health 800,000 people commit suicide around the world out of which 135,000 are from India. According to a report by the World Health Organisation mental distress is believed to be a key reason why one student commits suicide every hour in the country. Because of lack of conversation, there are a lot of myths & misconceptions surrounding Mental health especially regarding the Young people, here are a few.   Myth: People with Mental Illness are Violent Fact: Every study carried out on the subject has found that people suffering from mental illness are more likely to become the victims of violence than to be its perpetrators. And when those with mental health troubles do become violent, it tends to be related to that abuse. Mental Health Myth: People with Mental Illness are acting that way for attention Fact: Mental health conditions stem from the brain, and they are no different from physical health conditions. A mental health problem does not generally attract the type of attention that people want; there are so many misconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health that it wouldn’t make sense for someone who was healthy to pretend to have a mental illness. Myth: You’re not depressed, you’re just sad/moody Fact: Being Sad or Moody is something that we all have experienced but Not depression. Depression is an emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible. Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems. Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24. Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem. Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment. Myth: When the mentally ill attempt suicide, it is a cry for help. Fact: People suffering from mental health disorders will become suicidal only if their earlier, actual cries for help were not noticed, acknowledged or taken seriously. Failed suicide attempts by the mentally ill are a sign that urgent and immediate intervention is required, but the best course of action is to respond to the initial cries for help at the time they actually occur. Mental Health These are not all, there are so many more myths that people believe and its physically not possible to state all of them that is why we need to start a conversation Now, before its too late! Start talking to your friends, REACH OUT! To end on a lighter note here are a few movies you can watch that surround themselves around Mental Health, and maybe then we can finally Talk about it?   A BEAUTIFUL MIND Mental Health This movie, based on a true story, highlights the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr. (Russel Crow), a mathematical savant who lived with schizophrenia. The movie beautifully captures the challenges John faced throughout his life, including paranoia and delusions that altered his promising career and deeply affected his life. Through the magic of film, viewers can live John’s hallucinations with him, which feel as real to the audience as they did to him. JACOB’S LADDER Mental Health The film follows Jacob, a Vietnam War veteran who experiences intensely scary flashbacks and hallucinations following his experiences during the war. The film has quite the twist at the end, but the bulk of the film is a view into what it is like to suffer from intense trauma. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Mental Health After a stay in a mental health hospital, Pat Solatano is forced to move back in with his parents. His previously untreated symptoms of bipolar disorder caused him to lose both his wife and job, and he is determined to get his wife back. In his efforts, Pat meets Tiffany, who offers to help him in exchange for Pat being her ballroom dance partner. Silver Linings Playbook represents the range of emotion that often occurs with bipolar disorder in a real and riveting way. DEAR ZINDAGI Mental Health The film brings another milestone in Bollywood cinema with almost the entire story being set within a psychiatrist’s sessions - breaking cliches of facing a mental illness. And the best part is that Kaira isn’t even depressed, she simply visits the therapist because she couldn’t sleep for three days. Towards the climax, Alia confronts her family and talks of all the fears she has been struggling with. HEROINE Mental Health Although this movie does not focus on her illness and more on how the illness caused the downfall of her career, it still helped in bringing the condition and its management to the forefront. Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder also called manic-depressive disorder is a mood disorder and people usually experience disruptive mood swings that range from a frenzied state known as mania to depression.   Contributed by Himani Yadav

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