World Mental Health Day 2020: Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you

The World Mental Health Day, observed every year on 10 October, aims to create awareness about mental health issues around the world. The day also provides a platform and opportunity for people who work on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what needs to be done to make mental healthcare a reality for citizens around the world.  With the COVID-19 pandemic changing our lives considerably, mental health has become even more important.
According to the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) the theme for World Mental Health Day 2020 is 'Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access'. The last few months have created a number of challenges for healthcare workers, who are required to provide care during these trying circumstances. Students are also facing issues with having to adapt to a new way of education.
The past few months have also seen people with mental health conditions experiencing even greater social isolation than before. There are five types of mental illness ---1. Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder), 2. Anxiety disorders, 3. Personality disorders (psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia), 4. Eating disorders and trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder).
Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them. No doubt, there is a crack in everything. Many myths about mental health remain in our collective thinking — those who face mental health problems are weak; seeking help makes one dependent; psychiatric medicines are addictive; and psychotherapy and counselling can alter people’s thinking instantly.
In a recent study in Lancet on the Burden of Mental Health in India, it was reported that, in 2017, there were 197.3 million people with mental disorders, comprising 14·3% of the total population. Mental disorders contributed 4·7% to the total Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) in India in 2017 as compared to approximately 2·5% in 1990 (one DALY essentially being one lost year of “healthy” life). Various studies have reported that the treatment gap is as high as 95%. Treatment, even when available, is largely focused on medicines. Access to psychological and social interventions for mental health problems is not available to most people. The more vulnerable — children in institutions and in need of care and protection, the homeless, women who face violence, people living in conflict areas and those facing discrimination due to identity and disability — are the least likely to have access to mental health services.
 The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Atlas in 2017 documents that India has around a total of 25,000 mental health workers. India spends 1.3% of its health budget on mental health.
But remember, you don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human. Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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