Cutting through the noise: why we need to talk about mental health
BY: Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee (MBBS; MD; MIPS; MIAPP)
One in every four people experiences some sort of mental illness or other. This is what neurological studies reveal. So, the person next to you could probably be suffering from some mental health condition that might have been left undiagnosed.
While the average life expectancy of a person is 79 years, the average lifespan affected by mental health concerns ranges between 50-60 years.
Also, there are 40% higher chances of people with depression developing heart ailments rather than other normal people. The suicide rates are also highest among persons aged between 10 to 34 years. One in every 8 individuals who visit the emergency room has a mental health disorder.
All the above facts are not meant to frighten you but bring you the awareness that it is time we take mental health as seriously as physical health and talk about it.
Talking about mental health
People with mental health issues often have a difficult time living in society. They suffer a lot of stigma and humiliation from society due to the following reasons.
Mentally-affected patients suffer discrimination, bullying, physical and sexual harassment, etc. They also have fewer opportunities at work and face a lack of empathy from their family or friends. To overcome these mental health struggles, they must consult a mental health professional.
Having a mental health conversation helps in opening up channels of communication for such mental patients. Talking about mental health crises helps patients to open up regarding their inner struggles and paves the way for their road to recovery.
Reasons why talking about mental health is a must
The first step toward mental health treatment is to talk about the issues. This is the need of the hour as can be seen by the following reasons.
Gaining Mental Health Awareness
Nearly 20% of the people who suffer from clinical depression are hardly aware of it. Talking about the symptoms of depression helps them look through their personal experiences and identify their mental health illness.
Such mental health awareness camps can also conduct depression screenings that help individuals in analysing their feelings of sadness and decide whether it is depression or not.
Understanding the need for mental health treatment
A mental health disorder is not a “phase of bad times” or a “season”. Nor is it a drama. All of us should understand that mental health issues need professional help from a psychiatrist at the earliest. If this help is not rendered, neurotransmitters of the brain might be damaged by the chemical imbalances caused by the illness.
Ignoring a mental health condition will only make it worse. Seek help from a qualified psychiatrist immediately. Talking about mental illness will help patients and their families realise the need for the urgency of treatment.
Need for a support system
The lack of a support system is what makes mental illnesses worse. Children who suffer from adverse childhood experiences are often scared to express these to their families. This makes them develop adult mental illnesses in the long run.
Similarly, suicide attempts by adolescents are often a result of teen mental illnesses. Conversations about teen mental health can help college students open up about their personal experiences, romantic relationships, campus life, etc. This will help them ease the burden of depression and improve their social activities.
Even adults who are in an abusive relationship may suffer from major depression. Talking about their mental health will help them identify their depressive episodes and seek behavioural health treatments.
No one can fight a mental illness alone. Mental health conversations and discussions help family and friends to form a strong support system for such patients. This support system is vital in their battle against mental sickness
Mental health conversations as a part of work culture
Talking about mental health has become a must at both home and office. It is very much a part of the work culture and is included in employee assistance programs too. Professional relationships improve better with anxiety treatment programs that help in reducing stress and increasing employee retention.
Reaching out to the right mental health provider
Most patients with mental illness do not know where to seek medical help. Talking about mental illness can help them gain knowledge about the mental health care providers they must consult. It is then easy for these patients to sign up for mental and behavioural health consultations which are a must to improve their medical condition. Mental health professionals can also diagnose these illnesses better with such conversations.
Mental illness must be viewed with the same gravity and seriousness as physical illness. Talking about mental health will help us cut through the noise and reach out to those in actual mental distress. Help others in identifying and treating their psychiatric conditions by talking about mental health regularly.
If you or someone you know has been suffering from mental illness, the best course of action is to reach out to a mental health professional. An established psychiatry clinic like Mental Health Research Centre can help. Get in touch with us for more information.
Mental Health Research Centre (MHRC) is a psychiatric clinic in Kolkata that has a qualified psychiatrist and psychologist. We do psycho-diagnostic tests for most types of mental conditions, including anxiety or depression. Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee is a Consultant Psychiatrist and de-addiction specialist, practicing in MHRC with over a decade of experience in the field of mental health. He has attended multiple national and international conferences on psychiatry & related topics besides delivering lectures & appearing on TV. His area of interests are schizophrenia, depression, suicidal patients, geriatric mental problems, and de-addiction. To book an appointment visit 164/A2 Prince Anwar Shah Road Lake Gardens City 700045 or call 9831 313 020.