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Mental Health: Most Neglected Aspect in India

October 15, 2017

Twenty-first century has brought lot of inventions and developments to mankind. Technological innovations have made a very big leap wherein mankind is able to communicate, visualize and share within a fraction of seconds by use of smart-phone and computers, thanks to scientists and governments who have made the life of every individual easy and communicable.

Human body is a combination of physical body and mind. Each one of us knows that our brain is responsible for every little to major higher functions. 'A healthy mind in a healthy body' is the sole slogan that enables us to protect our body’s health so that a holistic human leads a good normal life. Medical research and innovations have enabled us to treat and cure many of the complicated health problems, and many of us believe that health can be bought or any adverse health conditions may be treated. The advancement in medical field has enabled the transplant of heart, liver, kidney and also the bone marrow. Each and every individual is highly realistic and proactive in terms of his body’s health and we have a number of hospitals, specialist doctors to treat and care by providing their utmost service.

Though we have achieved great advancement in the medical field and our body’s ailment is taken care, majority of us have failed totally in terms of our mental health care. The very fact of 'a healthy mind for the welfare of a healthy body’ is a forgotten entity especially for us Indians. Seeking mental health expertise is a 'big taboo' though we are highly educated and advanced. None of us bothers unless the mental health condition of the person is so severe until, his problems are burden to his associated family members. There too, a mental health expert's or a psychiatrist’s advice is sought in a very secret closed door manner. Yester years or the past was a different time wherein stress of life, anxiety and depressions were not very common because of good social structure and a family bondage. A strong family structure with grandparents, parents and the extended family tree including uncles and their families was a great boon in terms of welfare of a normal mental health. Children and adults had in their own families their loved one as healers to treat any stress or anxiety problems. Social structure because of advance in terms of development and competitive life styles has given birth to nuclear families and each member or nuclear family is too selfish or busy for themselves or busy looking beyond to accumulate wealth for few generations altogether.

Internet is a big boon to the society as it has made marvelous things and benefitted the entire population of the World. Every person or a child carries a smart-phone with a 24-hour internet connection. Every needs of a human can be met within fractions of a second, just by using a smart phone. Be it communication, virtual activities, online jobs, games, food, commodities, transport, medicines, studies, online degrees, you name anything and everything in your palms. Last week I was in Beijing, China and I was interested in buying a few Chinese household items before I leave to my country of job Malaysia. I asked one of my Chinese friends of my intention of shopping a few things. My friend told me, in China, shopping in malls and shops have almost become extinct due to the usage of smartphone and internet and every person orders his requirements on online stores and gets them to their doorstep. Though common in our home country India, only about 10-20% of our population may be using this mode of shopping. But in China, almost 90% of the population is shops online! A big worry is - human to human contact is almost disappearing from the advanced world.

Immature, adolescent and teenage children are at major risks as many of the internet games are spoiling them to the extent of taking their lives by means of suicides and suicide attempts. Nuclear family structure, parents both working, has totally handicapped these children in terms of their mental health and welfare. None of our Indian parents are ready to admit that, at any point of their children’s growth, their mental health is in jeopardy! As no-body has seen GOD, so also nobody has seen his own MIND. Brain is not your mind. Every living human keep on thinking and as per the neuroscientists every person gets almost 60,000 thoughts on an average per day. These thoughts are constantly generated by our brain and read by the mind. Any day- today small little problems may affect our brain and the mind and the mental health may be wavered. It may be anxiety, stress or any kind of tension. Human being needs ventilation, the more he vents his mind his worries and stress shall be lessened.

We need a confidante to listen to us. Listening to someone who is in stress is the first step of regaining wavered mental health. Olden days, we had our grandparents, house wife mothers, siblings to listen to us. In the present nuclear families, parents both are busy in their jobs or profession, grandparents in old-age homes, siblings almost nil or only one sibling as we have adopted a big ‘family plan’ to come over the financial problem to nurture more children! The first step in mental health is a good family member or a friend to listen; when someone listens to your problems most of your problems and stress is halved. When someone is in despair, straight-away he need not seek psychiatrists. Though we boast a lot on our medical and health service advancement, our schools are without counselors and psychologists! Our cities and towns and hospitals do not have enough counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Even one or two counselors or psychologists are practicing in the town, we do not bother to seek their help as we only believe that, only a medical doctor is a healer or able to cure! Even if someone is available in a psychology clinic, we have a big taboo, as though seeking any help from a counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist is branding our loved one as ‘MAD’. Though in 21st Century we have not come out with the taboo?

Internet games, social and educational pressure and competition of life has yielded a lot of mental health problems in the society, especially among our adolescents. Internet games such as blue-red whale games have already taken away the life of many children. Parents are busy, grandparents are in ashrams, extended family such as aunts, uncles and cousins seldom to visit, only internet and friends are the immediate ‘LISTENERS’ to our blessed children; time to think, awaken and act prudently to avoid and tragedy’s which may take away the life of our own children. Before it is too late, parents please listen to your children, think about their mental health and avoid any untoward incidences that may take their life.

Mental health is equally important to physical and all-round health. 'A healthy mind in a healthy body'.

 

 

Dr Urban D'Souza Archives:

 

By Dr Urban D'Souza
A native of Udyavar, Dr Urban D'Souza is professor and head of the department, faculty of medicine, University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia.

Comment on this article

  • Kamath, Canada

    Fri, Oct 27 2017

    Yes, In India, there is shocking ignorance about psychiatric( mental) illnesses . Much of it can be controlled or even 'cured' with medications and treatment. One has to try hard to educate people ranging from rich to poor or educated or not! These illnesses can occur in society.

    I know people equate say severe depression with some religious mind set and take the person to a temple for treatment out of superstitious mindset. Nobody bothers about reasons for suicide are typical examples.

    I think public lectures and even courses be given in schools and colleges to rid of the stigma. And medical colleges should create and graduate more Psychiatrists, Psychologists to combat this tragedy!

    But compared to state fifty years ago, people are much more informe today. That is a good sign!

    Agree [1]

  • K S Upadhay, Kota a/Manipala

    Fri, Oct 20 2017

    Very true Dr Urban Dsouza. Greed Anger and Jealousy are the three main enemies of men and women We must she greediness be with fmaily and spent more time with fmaily than busy making money at variuos places. Family is everything and we must take care of people arround us > Unless we change and lead a normal pious life with god in mind our society will soon go astray. Lest pray that we all become good human and not money making machiens. I am sure things will change and our culture in change. Lest hope our children look after us.

    Agree [3]

  • Dr Urban D'Souza, Udyavar/Malaysia

    Fri, Oct 20 2017

    Dear Dr S Kamath, Mumai
    Thanks for your comments. For the kind information of you and all our beloved readers of daiji, I am not a Psychiatrist. I am just a Physiologist and Counseling & Psychotherapy trained person.
    As you mentioned, any mental health problems need to be assessed by Qualified Psychiatrists at early stage so that major problems can be controlled and the patients can be treated scientifically.
    Regards

    Agree [2]

  • Dr.S.Kamath, Mumbai

    Fri, Oct 20 2017

    Good article
    My sincere advice to readers when anyone of your relatives are showing symptoms of Mental disease take them to Psychiatrist s of Tertiary care hospitals like Dr.Urban D D'souza only
    Dont take to non institutionalised Psychiatrist s
    In short take to Kankanady Wenlock Yenopoya etc

    Agree

  • Ivan Karkada, Udupi/Malaysia

    Thu, Oct 19 2017

    Well expressed ,As Dr. Urban D'souza as clearly pointed out implementing and strengthening awareness of mental health at grass route level may be the best solution .I guess in the present world difficult part is, when to bring about timely awareness.Its a big challenge indeed.

    Agree [1]

  • Roshan Braganza, mumbai

    Wed, Oct 18 2017

    The stress accumulated often due to ones own greed rather than forced by others . We live in a society which demands everyone to be competitor , so people who cannot be on their own solitude and rather crowd pleasing often get their ego hurt , which results in spiked up behaviour , and often stress .

    Agree [1]

  • SANTHOSH MENEZES, Kodical / Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 16 2017

    Very nice article, Very well written.

    Agree [9]

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Sun, Oct 15 2017

    The world has indeed developed a hundred fold in the last 2 or 3 decades. Unfortunately spiritual aspects have not kept pace with materialism . This is a important reason for youngsters especially to get dejected at the slightest signs of failure in life.

    An individual should always have strive for the best Plan A , But if this fails to materialize then he should keep a Plan B option ready and even a plan C option.
    Be it in ones Career Path, Marriage or any other event never be dejected if things do not happen according to a plan.

    Mental health breakdown has indeed become the fastest growing ailment and our society still does not have the means to tackle this as its considered a black spot and hence right initial treatment is either delayed OR not given at all due to this Taboo Stain.

    Dr Urban D'souza has indeed brought out relevant points which are vital to the right approach to this ailment and it should be an eye opener to every one.

    Agree [9]

  • Anita Pereira, Udyavar/Sharjah

    Sun, Oct 15 2017

    Dr. Urban D'souza, Very well written. Yes as you mentioned we have very little knowledge or exposure towards the mental health problems faced in our society.

    Agree [10]

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