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BREAKING TABOOS: ACCEPTANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESSES

You must have heard about the term mental illness now and then. This term at many times is used carelessly.

It is very difficult to define what  mental illness is, because we don’t know when our recurring emotions become an obstacle for us in our day to day work.

image credit:https://medicalservices.nph.org/2017/05/15/may-is-mental-health-awareness-month/

It varies from person to person in severity, hence to come up with a definition about what exactly is mental illness has been a herculean task. Well the most commonly accepted definition is as follows:
A mental illness is a dysfunction that negatively affects someone’s thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors and interferes in their ability to live a full life in society.

image credit:http://www.asknormen.co.uk/news/2016/northamptonshire-mental-health-awareness-day-2017/

SOCIAL STIGMAS ATTACHED TO IT:

People are ashamed to talk about their illness. People treat physical illness and illness very differently, and it shouldn’t be this way.

Most people believe that mental disorders are rare and “happen to someone else.”  But in fact, mental disorders are common and widespread.

In many cultures, people are uncomfortable about opening up about their issues even to their close family members fearing that it’ll be brushed off or won’t be accepted as an illness. This often makes the situation worse for those who are suffering from such illnesses.

image credit:http://www.murrayphn.org.au/stopstigma

Acceptance is the very first step forward towards a solution.

Often parents in such cultures aren’t able to accept the fact that their child is suffering from a mental illness, in country like ours, these things are often suppressed. Even though in big cities such issues are acknowledged, major part of our country still has not come to terms with it.

Why is mental health so important?

Mental health is the basis of our thinking, communication, learning, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health is also plays a major role in our relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributing to community or society. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

image credit:https://www.uleth.ca/hr/health-centre/mental-health-team-health-centre

Since life is so much easier today, why are mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorder and depression, on the rise?

It is being a world wide accepted fact that mental disorders like depression, anxiety, etc are on a steep rise. Especially, in teenagers. It is not always clear when a problem with mood or thinking becomes serious enough to be a mental health concern.

It is not surprising that children and young people are experiencing increasing problems with their mental health. Many have continuous, low-grade levels of anxiety and fearfulness. They face challenging, high expectations when it comes to schoolwork and friendships. Furthermore, they experience a range of adversities, including family financial difficulties, family breakdown, homelessness and emotional neglect.

Clearly, 21st Century life is taking its toll on some people. Economic uncertainty, social media, the influence of the media and rising expectations of what life should be like puts such a burden on young, impressionable minds!

 It is found that three-fourths of all mental illness begins by age 24.

MAJOR CAUSES:

  • Increased parental pressures
  • Increased use of electronic media as well as social media platforms.
  • Increased pressure of performing well in every aspect:be it academics or social or sports.
  • Increase in divisive news
  • Dramatic increase in violent TV programs, movies, and video games
  • Reduced face-to-face interactions.
  • Decreasing family culture and values.
  • Sexual as well as gender orientation confusion.
  • Being exposed to a multitude of opinions
  • Poor/reduced sleep
  • Increased financial pressure on parents
  • Easy access to, and the acceptance of, drugs.
  • The generation where everyone believes they are entitled to whatever they want, from opinions to lifestyle choices, and whenever and however they want it.

And unfortunately, many more.

While life has become better in terms of quality, societal norms have changed drastically, making it more difficult on mental health. Based on the research, this change is affecting everyone, and especially the children of this generation!

image credit:https://difference.guru/difference-between-mental-illness-and-mental-disorder/

Some of the common mental disorders:

  • ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS:

Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience but becomes a mental health problem when someone finds they are feeling this way all or most of the time.

  • BIPOLAR DISORDER:

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to someone who experiences extreme periods of low (depressed) and high (manic) moods.

  • DEPRESSION:

Depression is a diagnosis given to someone who is experiencing a low mood and who finds it hard or impossible to enjoy their lives.

  • EATING DISORDERS:

An eating disorder is a diagnosis given to someone who has unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviour about food and their body shape.

  • OBSSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER(OCD):

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health diagnosis given to someone who experiences obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

  • PERSONALITY DISOREDERS:

If someone has a personality disorder, some aspects of their personality might affect them in a way which makes it very difficult to cope with day to day life.

  • SCHIZOPHRENIA:

Schizophrenia is a diagnosis given to people who experience symptoms of psychosis, alongside what are called ‘negative symptoms’.

  • SELF-HARM:

Self-harm is when someone purposely hurts themselves, usually in order to cope with intense emotional distress.

How to cope up with it?

  • Seeking professional help if needed
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically activity
  • Getting sound sleep
  • Developing skills to cope up with stressful situations

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