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Understanding Mental Health: Talk, Listen, Stay Informed

December 10, 2017

Ask the Experts with Dr Achal Bhagat

 

WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?

We all have thoughts, feelings...We all interact with people. What do we want to achieve? Dignity for ourselves, to fulfil our purpose in life, we want to aspire to some things, we want to feel good about ourselves… This subjective feeling of well-being that we want to achieve for ourselves is positive mental health. When we do not nurture ourselves we start developing mental health problems. Mental health needs are universal.

ONE IN FOUR PEOPLE HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
About one in four people have mental health problems….It could be social difficulties that we have, relationship difficulties, break-ups, educational stress, stress at work, difficulties which are ongoing, for example, loss, and these could further contribute to common mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, having physical pains without a cause and some major psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia or mood disorders where we start moving away from reality.

INDIA HAS FEW EXPERTS

One in four people have a problem but the reach of the solutions is very limited. In India, the number of psychiatrists is really low -- about 5000 -- the number of clinical psychologists is very low, number of social workers and nurses is very low, to the extent that one psychiatrist could end up being responsible for about ten lakh people in the general population!

THE STIGMA

We talk about mental health as if it’s equal to going mad… the reality is all of us have mental health problems and it’s actually important to seek help and brave to seek help given the stigma.

IMPORTANCE OF STAYING INFORMED

That’s why it’s very important that all of us are informed about what mental health problems are and also seek help.And it’s also very important that self-help measures are in place so that people can also try to help themselves and their friends and relatives… even if psychiatric help or psychological help is not available.

That’s the purpose of this… hopefully we’ll be able to involve you in the conversation and you will  be able to send us your thoughts, questions, and comments. Tell us your stories.   

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