It‘s not only talking about mental health, but also whom to talk to.
The sudden death of an inspirational, young and budding Indian actor ‘Sushant Singh Rajput’ sent the media and the country into a frenzy. The talk about mental health and depression, and its effects, took the world of Cinema by storm.
What ensued was a complete public debacle of the life of an actor, who stood as a symbol of positivism and motivation for most of the young actors and the general public. Suddenly the country started waking up to the harsh reality of ‘Mental Health’ and how it affects everyone.
A topic still considered to be a taboo in our country has suddenly started creating waves of mystery and history in our lives. This sudden spike in attention may not live forever, but we must begin acknowledging this fact.
‘Depression is being color-blind and constantly being told how colorful the world is.”- Atticus
When Indian actors Deepika Padukone spoke about ‘Depression’, and Ileana D’Cruz spoke about another form of mental illness called ‘Body Dysmorphic Disorder’, there was a storm of sympathy that poured in. Similarly, when the renowned Indian rapper and singer Honey Singh spoke about his battle with ‘Bipolar Disorder’, the same was speculated as only an excuse with substance-abuse.
Doesn’t this stark contrast in sympathy and empathy show us anything?
Are we ready to accept a change in mindset regarding mental health and adapt to it?
Mental Health is a topic that has started getting discussed around the world, including our country, but there is still a long way to go before we begin to address it with conviction.
While it is necessary to ‘Talk about Mental Health’, it is equally important to understand ‘Whom to speak about it too’.
We are so deeply engrossed in our lives that we often forget to check upon our basic necessity- Our well-being.
‘I am alone in a crowded room full of people I love and who love me back.’
Unfortunately, Mental Health and Depression do not only affect celebrities or grown-ups. It has started seeing a constant rise amongst young adults and teenagers as well.
Recently, a 17 YO Tik-Tok user from Noida, India, committed suicide because he was ‘depressed’ for not getting the ‘likes’ on his TikTok videos off late. Unfortunately, his parents were not aware of his depression and only knew that he was not very happy in the days before his sudden demise.
Be alert people!
Another 16 YO Tik-Tok star, with nearly a million followers, committed suicide for unknown reasons. It could be depression or mental anxiety or undue social media pressure. There are still speculations behind her untimely demise.
The fact behind the matter is concerning, and it is high time we all stood up with at least our close family and friends before they decide to take this drastic step.
These are just a few examples from recent times that shows that Mental Health has to take precedence as we continue to live our lives.
As per Discovery Mood, ‘Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24.’
What can be done to educate the masses, and classes, about increasing concerns regarding Mental Health?
SEEK TO REMOVE THE STIGMA
When we start speaking about mental health, and the problems associated with it, you will slowly see a change in the way society starts perceiving it. The conversation that we all are having today is somewhere triggering a much-needed shuffle that plagues this topic.
When the myths get debunked, people will slowly start to open their minds and eyes to this unfortunate reality.
As per US News, suicides may see an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone is living in a perceived bubble of happiness and joy, while the reality might just be different.
There could be triggers, and maybe it is high time that we realized the importance of hearing and speaking to remove the stigma.
Parents are our first pillar of support. They are the ones who stand by us, in most cases, and see us through situations, thick or thin. People need to speak up about their emotions or state of mind to their parents before taking any drastic step.
Most of the times, young adults or teenagers have a problem in communicating their feelings and emotions to their parents.
Speaking to parents can be the first level of respite for many children. As young adults, adults, or teens, it is probably a good idea to confide your feelings in your parents and just ask them to listen.
Parents should step in.
It is not only necessary to understand what is going on in your child’s mind, but it is equally important to assess their general behavior. Keeping an eye on a few changes that seem persistent or evident, maybe triggers to something bigger.
It is a two-way process. This conversation needs to happen regularly. Parents inquiring ‘How are you doing my child?’ or ‘Is everything alright?’ or ‘are you thinking about something?’ are a few conversation starters that parents need to start moving towards now.
Best friends are like those pillars in a monument who can be enjoyed on a sunny day and give you the support even on your rainy days.
Friends can be a great support, though you may think otherwise. Every person can show a different emotion or sign of depression/mental health. It is required to lend a helping hand and an alert mind to share their feelings.
Getting irritable or upset for unknown reasons, seeming sad or tearful, talking about feelings of constant guilt, being less communicative, etc. are all signs that should send signals to you that all is not well with your friend.
If you just listen to them, you may understand that your friend can talk about things that are troubling them and maybe you can help them out. Acting upon conversations may not always be feasible, but lending an empathetic ear can also make a difference.
It could also be that your friend does not understand that he/she is going through depression. At such times what you can do is help them look for the right therapist and just stand with them through their first appointment and maybe the ones to follow too.
After all, friends are a window to your inner-most emotions that even you may not be aware of!
Depression, and types of mental health disorders, vary in symptoms, intensity and treatment. In recent times, we have seen a sudden surge in deaths related to depression. However, the severity of any mental health problem can only be better assessed by a trained psychologist or therapist.
If you think you are facing any of the symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help.
While family and friends need to give constant support and encouragement, however, it is equally necessary for the society and yourself to accept that there is something wrong.
Before you jump the wagon, we need to understand the difference between a ‘Psychologist’ and a ‘Psychiatrist’.
Although these words are used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Both of them study the human mind, but only one is an actual certified doctor.
Psychologists– They are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication. They provide psychotherapy that may involve behavioral and cognitive intervention. They can pursue a Doctorate Degree and may become Counselors in Psychology. They are also referred to as ‘counselors’ or ‘therapists’ at times.
Psychiatrists– They are professional medical doctors and can prescribe medications. They conduct psychotherapy and treat several mental disorders with the help of pharmacological intervention. They are involved in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.
While psychologists can help in the initial assessment and cognitive therapy, they may not be able to help people with clinical depression or any severe mental illness. These ‘counselors’ are great to speak with and confide in. They can serve as a great medium to break down your anxiety and help you assess the type of problem you have.
However, it is a psychiatrist who will be able to conduct a detailed analysis of your problem and give you the right medication, if required.
By speaking about mental health and mental illness, it is equally important to talk about seeking psychological or psychiatric help.
You have one life, make it happen.
While there are different types of mental health problems, the one that is being faced by thousands of people around the country, and the world, is depression.
WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT SAY TO A PERSON SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION?
There is a huge difference in being happy and showing that you are happy. It is important to keep a lookout for signs in people around us, especially close ones, to lend a helping hand.
As families, we still tend to shove the entire topic under the carpet thinking that it is not important to discuss or the person is simply over-thinking the situation.
A person suffering from depression does not know or control the functioning of the entire series of confusion in his/her body.
Telling them ‘It is okay’ or ‘Get over with it’ or ‘Cheer up’ or ‘Take a walk’ is just NOT done.
For a person suffering from depression, it is more to do with a long drawn internal battle that they are still trying to figure out. They are not just an average person feeling sad or lonely; this feeling is much more than that.
Taking a walk in the park’ or ‘getting some fresh air is not going to solve their problems. It might just make it worse.
We need to understand that ‘depression’ is different from ‘sadness’ or ‘loneliness’. It severely affects the functioning of the body and mind, and there is very little that the person has in control.
They may be incapable of doing many simple things too. Instead of badgering them with confidence and hope, it is good just to be around them.
Hopelessness, worthlessness and nothingness are the varied feelings people with depression go through.
Rather than telling them to ‘be strong/positive’, it is probably better to not say anything but just stand with them.
Help them without making a fuss and silently guide them through their healing process.
Let us do our bit by being there for people around us, our loved ones, our family and friends, and ourselves.
I hide my fears behind my tears.
I put on a happy face because the show must go on.
But I am the only one who knows what is happening within.
I need someone to help me get through this.
Post originally posted by me on www.medium.com