Destigmatizing mental health: everything you need to know to seek treatment – News


Mental health is still taboo in many cultures, but treatment is the best way forward

By Shajar Khan

Posted: Wed, Oct 27, 2021, 6:33 PM

Last update: Wed, Oct 27, 2021, 6:34 PM

As fear, anxiety and stress increase more and more throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many cannot cope with everyday life and the uncertainty of the unknown.

It is normal and understandable for people to experience fear in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to experiencing mental health issues that may not have been as prevalent before. Dealing with mental health issues can be daunting.

In a recent interview with Dr Hanan Kandil and Dr Ammu Thulaseedharan, both specialist psychiatrists at Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah, they shared insightful knowledge and advice on de-stigmatizing mental health and seeking treatment. .

Is mental health considered a taboo subject in some cultures?

Yes, mental health is still a taboo subject in many cultures due to the stigma of being a psychiatric patient. Doctors often face situations where children seek help and face the disapproval of parents, grandparents or elders.

Are people embarrassed to ask for help to improve their mental health?

In some cases, people are ashamed to seek help or to admit that they have a mental illness. Many people believe that there is a stigma attached to someone seeking psychological or psychiatric help. People see this as being mentally unstable; therefore, they do not choose not to seek help for fear of being judged and stereotyped. Many people take chronic medications and seek help from healthcare professionals, and going through psychiatric treatment shouldn’t be viewed any differently. During the pandemic, there is an increase in the number of people seeking help for various mental illnesses and breaking the stereotype.

How can a person deal with stress and worry?

According to Dr. Kandil, it is essential to focus on the outcome or solution of a problem rather than remaining in a negative state of mind. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many employees suffered pay cuts and some paychecks represented less than 50% of their regular income. Finding the right one in a situation – the remaining 50% of the salary received in a situation like this is essential. It is important to be grateful and grateful and to focus on what can be done.

Many relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and walking, atomically calm your nervous system. Being surrounded by positive people and prioritizing / limiting focus on one particular task at a time will also eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Another great technique for dealing with stress and worry is to stay in the moment and not focus on the future or the past. Dr Kandil strongly believes in letting go of what you cannot change and understanding that your energy is fixed. When you waste time and energy in situations you cannot change, it will be at the expense of tasks you can accomplish and situations you can change.

Does religion or spirituality play an important role in the decision-making process to see or not to see a psychiatrist?

The suicide rate in countries of religious origin is lower than in countries that may not be so religiously inclined. Spiritual or religious people who believe that a higher power is less likely to feel hopeless. If they feel isolated, alone or sad, they often believe that greater power changes the situation and many take comfort in knowing that. It creates hope in difficult times. According to Dr. Kandel, many people are more attracted to religion and spirituality than ever before.

Is consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist expensive?

Seeing a psychologist or psychotherapist can be expensive. However, many insurance companies cover psychiatric treatment and their many initiatives and helplines that help those in need at little or no cost. One of the insiders is the Happy Minds mental wellness initiative which provides mental health care to those in need, offering free mental health consultation.

Can Mental Illness Be Cured?

The first step in any treatment for mental illness is to explain the illness to the patient or their loved ones. Once the patient or family understands the nature of the disease, such as the name and symptoms, the next step is to recommend the course of treatment and possible outcomes. Mental illnesses can be controlled with medication and psychotherapy. Treatments differ from patient to patient depending on the diagnosis and the severity of the disease. Some patients may need chronic medication to be healthy and function, while others may require treatment for shorter periods.

Are patients adversely affected by the use of prescribed drugs?

According to Dr. Thulaseedharan, there are many myths that patients are adversely affected by treatment. The mental illness that the patient suffers from can affect their function and quality of life. Psychiatrists constantly monitor the patient to make sure the medication is right for the patient. In a situation where the patient has developed a reaction, the prescription is changed immediately. There are different drugs available in the market, such as drugs with sedation and without sedation. No medication can interfere with the patient’s functioning.

How do I know if I am not well?

You have to look at yourself and assess how you feel. Whether it’s deviated a little from how you usually feel, you need to examine your relationship with your peers or family members and assess whether you are isolating yourself. If something has drastically changed your behavior and you are no longer able to function as before, it could mean that you are suffering from social and professional dysfunction and that you need to seek help.

What is the Happy Minds initiative?

In line with the UAE’s goal of making the UAE a world leader in quality of life, Zulekha Hospital has launched the “Happy Minds” – Mental Wellness program. The initiative aims to destigmatize victims of mental health problems and help them feel more comfortable in seeking professional assistance.

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