Messenger: Talk about mental illness

August 29, 2022 | 06:08 IST

Talking about mental illness

Indian cricket talisman Virat Kohli opened up about his feelings and opened up about his mental health issues and how he coped with them in a revealing interview recently. The Indian star hitter has been going through a tough time lately and hasn’t enjoyed an international century for the past three years.

In the interview, he said that for the first time in 10 years, he hadn’t touched his bat for a month, which he had never done in his life. He realized he was “trying to fake” his intensity lately. His mind told him to pause and take a step back. He is seen as a guy who has been mentally very strong, which he is. But everyone has a limit and we must recognize this limit.

This whole incident tells us that we need to recognize that mental health is as important as physical health and we need to talk about mental illness, consult a professional mental health expert for health instead of suffering in silence.

The main reason why India is losing its sanity is the lack of awareness and sensitivity to the issue. There is a great stigma around people with any type of mental health condition. They are often labeled as “crazy”, “crazy”, “possessed” and many others by society. This leads to a vicious circle of shame, suffering and patient isolation.

Everyone gets angry, feels weak or even feels anxious at some point in their life. It’s not a problem. The disorder occurs when these feelings become intense, do not go away, and interfere with your daily life. It’s when the feelings stay for weeks, months and years. It is the intensity and longevity that classifies it as a disorder. It needs attention and interventions.

People regard mental problems as taboo and try to hide them. They don’t discuss it openly with others and feel depressed and feel guilty for suffering from mental illness. As the world has modernized, we have moved to nuclear families and social ties have been severed.

24/7 performance expectations and zero tolerance for failure add immense stress to an individual. The immediate consequence of this stress is depression, which is a common illness characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, during at least two weeks.

Other symptoms include loss of energy, change in appetite, irregular sleep pattern, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness and thoughts of harming or even killing yourself.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, the total number of people suffering from depression was estimated at more than 300 million in 2015, or 4.3% of the world’s population.

In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 revealed that almost 15% of Indian adults need active intervention for one or more mental health problems and that one in 20 Indians suffers from depression, the 15-49 age group being the most affected. . At worst, depression can lead to suicide; more than 800,000 people die by suicide every year. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.

Governments, NGOs and other social institutes need to start educating about mental health issues and eliminating the misconceptions attached to it. Although awareness levels are much higher today than before, this is not enough as a large number of people with depression still avoid seeking professional health care and indulge in substance abuse.

This is a dangerous situation as the individual actually indulges in self-destruction and ultimately not only destroys the affected person’s life but also smashes the whole house. Families must face their loss alone.

Society as a whole also needs to pause and slow down. We move aimlessly, heading towards a big drop. We must talk about mental health problems and give it the same importance as physical illness.

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