C-Suite Agenda

MENTAL HEALTH AND ITS CONCERN IN 21st CENTURY

Nabhit Kapur
Mental Health is an unavoidable part of our overall health and cannot be ignored at any cost. In the past few years, especially after the pandemic of COVID-19, people cannot ignore the impact created by various factors such as gap of isolation enforced by the pandemic. A lot of people are unaware that the situation they are facing in their heads on a regular basis can be disorders or consequences of an illness/chemical imbalance in their brains, which can be improvised with the right kind of help.
Some of the primary reasons for this unawareness are lack of knowledge regarding various mental disorders and conditions, lack of accessibility to resources, treatment expenses, and stigmas faced around mental health disorders. Many people have undiagnosed mental health disorders and this might include different types of disorders, for eg – anxiety disorders, chronic depression, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), they might continue to struggle when left untreated, unaddressed and unresolved.
If we are to fully combat the problem of the overall health situation of the people residing in the country, we need to take a step forward and work towards tackling one of the most important challenges of the 21st century -MENTAL HEALTH!
CONCERNS OF 21st CENTURY ; AFFORDABLE MENTAL HEALTHCARE AND QUEER AFFIRMATIVE HEALTHCARE :
It is probably persistent that one of the concerns of our generations in the 21st century is affordable mental healthcare and queer affirmative healthcare for minority genders. It becomes quite a task for the minorities to tackle the questions – Where can they find affordable therapy? How can they get therapy sessions which do not charge hefty fees like 800, 1000, 1500, 1800, 2000 and so on?
How do we know if we need counselling or therapy? How do we choose a Mental Health Expert? Is there a gender we would be more comfortable talking to? All these questions might be somewhat daunting if someone is approaching a therapist for the first time on their own. Especially for transgenders and other gender minorities, it is more of a task to find a safe space to discuss about their problems or to find queer affirmative therapists whom they can afford or most importantly whom they can atleast find easily.
 HOW FAR CAN SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT OUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Social media is perhaps one of the most time consuming daily activities in the 21st century. A look around the corner in public places will tell how indulged people are in their phones, some probably mindlessly surfing social media for countless hours. Social media might be useful for finding quick access to information and resources, but the negative impacts of social media outweigh the positive ones. Social media is often associated with maintaining our social image in front of the people we know.
Adolescents and youth growing their social identities are introduced with vast new social media technologies such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, that can be harnessed for good but can also instigate new and emerging risk factors affecting our minds negatively. In fact, study reveals that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. Studies have certainly shown that social media use triggers feelings of jealousy. And another study has found that taking a break from Facebook helps boost psychological well-being. Not only this, a 2019 study tied social media use to disrupted and delayed sleep.
Regular, high quality sleep is essential for mental well-being, and evidence shows that sleeping problems contribute to adverse mental health effects, such as depression and memory loss.
Furthermore, it is not new to us that social media can activate cyberbullying and in fact today, we might also see that excessive use of social media creates unhealthy self-centeredness and distance from friends and family. Today, we regularly see various kinds of hate comments, abusive trolls, homophobic content and sexist remarks over various social media platforms, especially on meme pages; this can trigger trauma and might impact the mental health of the people or groups of people towards whom such abusive content is targeted.
A STEP FORWARD TOWARDS MENTAL
WELL BEING – STARTING POINT OF RECOGNITION AND DIAGNOSIS:
There has been an existing lack of openness to discussions of the etiology of psychiatric and psychological disorders, as well as the structural and policy levers that activate their occurrence. Moreover, recommendations for care still remain stigmatized till today. Such an inaccessible and unaware environment only makes it difficult for undiagnosed people to identify their own conditions and disorders.
Further, the process of recognition, definition, and diagnoses of various disorders themselves remain to be a big and alien concept amongst the most vulnerable sections and underprivileged sections of society due to lack of enough knowledge. But it should be kept in mind, that if some thought or some feeling is bothering us consistently for more than a month and interfering with our day to day activities, it is always wise to go and check with a therapist without delay or procrastination. Appointment sessions can be booked online/offline and a list of suitable therapists is available on various websites across the internet.
 WITHOUT MENTAL HEALTH, THERE IS NO HEALTH :
According to a research report, over thirty lakh people in India are suffering from mental illness and it is set to overtake cardiovascular disease as a single largest ailment in near future. According to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science (NIMHANS), there are over two crore people in India who are in a state of serious mental disorder and about five crore people who are affected by common mental diseases. But 50-90% of them are not able to access corrective services.
The report suggests that the impact of globalization, peer pressure, professional tensions, internal chemical deficiency, chronic stress, diminishing family values are resulting in tremendous mental stress or disorders. It is clearly a cause of concern since in India health experts are not directly proportionate to the population of the country and its demands. Keeping the data and figures in mind, it is undoubtedly clear that it is more than high time that mental health should indeed be on the forefront of public health policies, government initiatives, free healthcare services and prevention efforts, with attention to each developmental period across the life course of vulnerable sections of society.
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Prof. Nabhit Kapur
Prof. Nabhit Kapur is a well-known psychologist who is well-versed in understanding mental health as well as studying and grasping behaviours of how people communicate with each another. He is also an author, TEDx speaker, and internationally recognized ambassador for mental health and peace. He graduated from Amity University and completed his postgraduation from IBMS, Chittoor.

Nabhit Kapur is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and his website.