March 25, 2023

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World Mental Health Day: Mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses and should be addressed properly, says Dr Hardeep Singh

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Chandigarh, October 10, 2022: Stress has become an inevitable part of our daily lives and affects us both at a personal and professional level. If not addressed properly, it can progress and further lead to more complex mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) etc.

To raise awareness on the importance of mental health and to mobilize efforts in support of the cause, World Mental Health Day is celebrated across the world on 10th October every year. The theme for this year’s event is – “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority.”

Dr Hardeep Singh, Director, Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Hospital Mohali, in an advisory explains why mental health is equally important as maintaining physical health.

What is mental health?
Mental health encompasses a wide range of emotions that affect an individual at an emotional, psychological and social level. “Mental ability is how a person copes up with mental stress and how it impacts their decision-making power,” added Dr Singh.

Is our society receptive?
Stigma is more in the upper educated class, while for the rest, it is an illness just like any other. While the privileged class always want to hush up the matter, simple folks from rural backgrounds are very open, maybe ill-informed about the illness, but are generally more receptive about treatment measures. The harsh truth is that no one in our society cares or remembers your problems. We need to learn to tackle them ourselves. Contacting a mental health professional is like getting your car serviced. There is no shame. The more we talk about our issues, mental health is taken care of. We need to break the shackles of stigma and open up. Remember, your doctor does not want to prescribe a pill or therapy for the sake of doing so, but to help you out of the situation. Lastly, shake off the myths around psychiatry medications. They are safe.

In my opinion, we need to wake up every morning to the fact that mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses. Acceptance is half the battle won. And, it is always best to follow the advice of the expert.

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