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Sneezy?…Wheezy?...Mentally Queezy? Mental Health Common Cold

To be healthy we require both physical and mental wellbeing and just like we will experience physical ailments from time to time it is imperative to understand that we will similarly experience mental health ailments as well

Photo Credit : Shutterstock

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The average life expectancy in India is 68 years, that's 24,820 days, 595,680 hours and 35,740,800 minutes. During this time every person will experience a barge of feelings, some good, some bad and some simply confusing.  Within our life times we will exist in a social context; where we will develop and nurture relationships, where we will triumph in adversity, where we will learn from failure and where we will eventually breathe our final breaths on this planet. During this existence we will experience at some point of time some form of physical or mental health concern.  This statement may surprise you, physical illness sure, we all will fall ill at some point but mental health…. That might be a little more difficult to digest.

The World Health Organization reports 7.5% of the Indian population experiencing some type of mental health concern, the truth is during our lifetimes we are likely experience a mental health episode. Psychologists classify a mental health concern when a person's mental state of mind interferes and impairs a persons day to day functioning or general quality of life. If you think about it have you ever been so stressed that you are unable to focus at work? Have you felt very low after losing a loved one, events or experiences such as these make you a potential candidate for a mental health concern.

The way I like to think about a mental health concern is like a very bad muscle pull, in extreme cases you might need to take an anti-inflammatory and a pain killer but in most cases you need to rest it out and do physiotherapy to assist the muscle to regain its strength. There is one glaring difference though, you will limp with a pulled leg muscle, it is easier to hide a mental health concern.

Mental health like sexuality or gender is fluid and on a spectrum there will be times where you will feel more anxious than others for example when you have a job interview or the stock you invested in drops in market value.  While these events may not cause anxiety or depression these heightened feelings if prolonged can result in a mental health episode or a mental health concern.

Mr. Das (name changed to protect confidentiality) is a 55 year old businessman who works for a large international firm. Lately due to political changes the firm has been handing out severance packages. Mr. Das knows his job is secure and has been told the same, yet since the start of the cut backs he has been feeling uneasy at work. He finds himself losing his temper and often having trouble sleeping at night. These feelings continue even after the firm has finished making cut backs. Mr. Das has visited multiple medical professionals with no respite.

Mr. Das is just one of many working professionals who experienced anxiety. If we think about it, it would be strange for him not to feel anxious when people around him are losing their jobs.

Numerous professionals experience anxiety on a daily basis, for some unfortunately it becomes a normal state of being. When an uncomfortable feeling doesn't pass or occurs frequently that is a sign that perhaps it is time to go in and have a chat with a mental health professional.

Worldwide 322 million people suffer from depression these numbers continue to rise. In India 1 in every 20 people suffer from depression. These numbers are not so different from the prevalence of a common cold. So why is it we treat a mental health concern differently from that of the flu?  

To be healthy we require both physical and mental wellbeing and just like we will experience physical ailments from time to time it is imperative to understand that we will similarly experience mental health ailments as well.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tanya Percy Vasunia

The author is a Psychologist and Case Coordinator at Mpower Center

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