Navigating the Labyrinth of Mental Health: A Journey of Challenges and Hope

    Seema Agarwal
    March29/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    The silent battles of mental health in the bustling streets of Mumbai and beyond, where societal pressures and internal turmoil intertwine.

    Representative Image

    It can be chaotic out there in the streets of Mumbai, with a lot of traffic and people moving around it. But amidst all that noise, there is an unseen story – one of silence battles and hidden wars. This picture: a young executive in a smart suit sips tea from his high-rise office and looks through the window to the world below. Success and accomplishment are what he stands for before others though deep down inside him; there is churning ocean currents of feelings, turmoil maze of fear. In each continent across the globe such as this story recurs because dark shadow of mental health imposing its long agonizing glance.
    The account points out how mental illness knows no national boundaries or differences in duties, jobs and social ranks. Let’s take this trip through the maze towards better understanding our collective consciousness interwoven with difficulties while searching for rays to enlighten our path further.

    According to World Health Organization report 3 in 4 people worldwide suffer from depression. No longer confined to well-off nations, mental disorders are increasingly affecting poor countries too.Even though it is a problem that is spread all over, people are still not ready to talk about mental health. People do not feel comfortable discussing mental health or even listening to talks about it. This situation is the same for people from India and other great nations such as Russia, China and the US.
    According to the World Health Organization, health is more than just being free of diseases; it also covers social, mental, and physical well-being. A sick person may be defined as one who lacks well-being in these areas. In contrast, an individual with good health will exhibit contentment on these fronts while actively contributing to his/her community and working productively. Mental health directly determines one’s emotional status which in turn affects their ability to think effectively, understand concepts and perform tasks successfully.

    Dementia, anxiety, depression among others are some of the mental disorders and they are the most common types of such diseases. However, one problem by which many people suffer all over the world is depression.
    Depression does not spare any individual irrespective of his age and status in society with its causes becoming more apparent every day.

    Stress and depression cases have increased by 18% over the past decade according to WHO. In India, approximately 6.5-7.5 percent of the population suffers from mental health issues. Recognizing the seriousness of this issue concerning public health, India's Supreme Court has called for all judges to be aware about mental health matters saying that it has different meanings for everyone.

    It's noteworthy that unemployment and poverty are significant contributors to mental depression. Statistics from the 2011 census reveal that nearly 78.62% of individuals suffering from mental disorders struggle with unemployment. Furthermore, the rising incidence of youth suicide underscores the severity of the mental health crisis. Young people, plagued by unemployment, often find themselves overwhelmed by negative emotions, leading them to contemplate drastic measures like suicide.Experts observe a correlation between economic downturns and increased instances of depression. In 2013, the WHO approved a comprehensive mental health action plan for the period 2013-2020, urging all countries to prioritize mental health improvement efforts. Despite India's adoption of this plan, the country's mental health situation remains dire.

    Insufficient funding allocated to mental health exacerbates the problem. Currently, India allocates only 1.3% of its total healthcare expenditure to mental health, underscoring the inadequate attention given to this critical issue. Additionally, a shortage of mental health professionals further hampers efforts to address the crisis.

    The stigma surrounding mental health in India impedes progress. Despite the staggering number of individuals affected by mental disorders, society often dismisses mental health concerns as imaginary. The lack of awareness and ignorance lead to the stigmatization of those suffering from mental illnesses, making it difficult for them to integrate into society.

    Recent warnings from the WHO indicate that by 2024, over 20% of India's population will suffer from mental disorders. It's alarming that despite such a significant prevalence, mental health continues to be overlooked as a legitimate health concern in India.

    Raising awareness and overcoming social stigma are critical steps towards improving mental health. With concerted efforts through effective awareness campaigns, this situation can be addressed. However, it's clear that addressing mental health challenges will require a multi-faceted approach encompassing healthcare, education, and societal attitudes.