Table of Contents
Mental illness is a term used to describe mental health conditions that impact mood, thinking, and behaviour. These disorders may interfere with one’s ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis.
The stigma surrounding mental health disorders prevents many people from getting the help they need.
In India, there are more than 70 million people who suffer from some form of mental illness and a miniscule percentage of this population actually tend to seek help from professionals. Public stigma associated with mental health problems discourages young people from seeking help.
The Indian culture, which emphasizes enlightenment and spiritualism, tabooed mental health for the longest time. In 2015, Deepika Padukone, a well known Indian celebrity spoke about her battle with depression and anxiety. The simple act of speaking to the public about her struggles helped spread the message that mental illness is like any other physical illness that can be treated with medicines and counseling.
Awareness about the importance of mental health grew during the pandemic. This pushed institutions, from schools to the workplace, to encourage facilitating conversations around the topic. More people are finding the professional help they need or at the very least, receiving support from their community. Access to mental health resources and online consultations with qualified specialists has helped remove some stigma-related barriers.
Experts believe that the only way to keep mental health support from dissipating is to push awareness and normalize seeking help.
Stigma is broken when people shine a light on a topic and share experiences with each other.