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Creating Acceptance Towards Mental Health Concerns: The Way Forward

Mental Health Therapist

Mental health is currently the major concern worldwide and India is not far behind in sharing this. According to the National Health Mission, six to seven per cent of the population suffers from mental concerns. It also notes that one in four families is likely to have at least one member diagnosed with mental illness. If we evaluate developments in the field of mental health, the pace appears to be slow.

The slow pace of addressing mental health issues compound to widespread lack of knowledge on the nature and prevalence of mental health problems including mental illness. The lack of access, affordability, and awareness combined with the complex and diverse nature of stigma and prejudice connected with mental health result in a significant treatment gap.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit, India had a significant treatment gap. Excessive fear, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, and melancholy have all been spurred on by the COVID-19 disease itself and its turn effects of quarantine and nationwide lockdowns, eventually leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The pandemic had accentuated the mental health problems in people of all ages. It has accelerated the longtime efforts of various professionals in mental health care communities to create awareness about mental health conditions and illnesses. 

Various Ways for Creating Acceptance Towards Mental Health:

  • By improving mental health literacy, which is a gateway to mental health interventions and it includes enhancing the understanding of mental health concerns to aid their recognition, management and prevention.
  •  Leveraging social media to normalize searching and seeking help for mental health problems and having frequent, open and safe spaces within the communities that destigmatize and emphasize that mental health and physical health are equally essential for wellbeing. 
  •  This year’s budget was one of those rare occasions when mental health got the attention of the Indian policy makers at the national level. For an effective mental health system, intersectional linkages to be strengthened through national tele-mental health programs, consent framework for the National Digital Health Ecosystem and lastly tax reduction for people with disabilities is another positive step towards change. It is a functional and structural changes by policy makers leads to social acceptance of mental health. 
  • Community mental health is the gateway to promote mental health in diverse communities to be open conversation about mental health concerns and provide accessibility to foster support systems within the community.

Another aspects of acceptance of mental health concerns is lack of accessibility. The pandemic also saw the rise of remote mental health care. Online therapy and counseling has now become the effective way for seeking support. The possible reasons for this growing popularity among the general public are the increased accessibility, affordability, and acceptability of online mediums during pandemic.

India is waking up to the new reality and consequences of mental health while responding with openness and acceptance, pointing to the impact of education and access. A follow up study this year was conducted for the 2018 study , “How India Perceives Mental Health” findings provide a larger pragmatic plan of action and most importantly hope for the future .

There was a substantial jump in the attitudinal change towards mental health interventions, for instance 92 percent of those who surveyed mentioned they would support a person seeking treatment for mental illness. The study reveals a complete shift in the general perception of people with mental illness which is a heartening change in the country

The study highlights the surge in rise of remote mental health services and increase in acceptance of mental health. Being a mental health ally through words and actions, helps create a mental health-friendly environment for those around them.

Anyone can be a mental health ally—anyone within the family, from the friend circle at school, college, or work. We at Samvedna care envision individuals to live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community. Our therapists have extensive experience working with clients having various psychological concerns.

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