Technology has made life very easy today.Labor saving gadgets,fast modes of transport & quick-linking devices like mobile & computers--all of these have combined to save us toil & time.But are we any more relaxed today than we were earlier?NO!In fact these are the most stressful times ever.
To make matters worse, intimate relationships & support systems are depleting by the day.As a result we find ourselves alone when life throws a googly at us.No wonder then, that Mental Disorders afflict about 5% of Indian population.W.H.O.estimates that 22% individuals will have one or more than one kind of mental or behavioral disorder in their life-time.
Scary,isn't it?Mental diseases not only unhinge the mind,they also lead to many physical ailments & sometimes end up in suicide.The whole fabric of life is torn to shreds.Suicides are increasing at an alarming rate & even ten to eleven year old have been known to take their lives.
The saddest part of this whole scenario is,that when the seeds of psychiatric morbidity first germinate,we turn a blind eye towards them.Distress is allowed to fester inside until it transforms into a serious malady.Why? Because the sufferer thinks that bringing out his turmoil in the open will reveal him as being weak & incapable of solving his own problems.
There is a huge stigma attached to mental illness in our society.Consulting a psychiatrist or a counselor is likely to brand the person as being somewhat crazy.This prevents the person from consulting a specialist while there are good chances of recovery.Even if the patient,tormented by his agony,decides to seek outside help,the family often goes into denial.The whole matter is pushed under the carpet.This is a very serious & costly mistake.We rush to the doctor at the first signs of fever.Mental illness too is an illness like any other.It requires treatment,care & compassion.The earlier the diagnosis,the better the prognosis.
Once a person is known as being a mental patient he has to face a lot of discrimination.Employers,acquaintances,friends and sometimes even family give him a raw deal.You will find many such persons loitering on the streets-unkempt,unfed and uncared for.Along with mental health,their physical health too goes downhill.They contact many diseases and die a premature,unmourned death.Do they die of disease or a callous society?Many of them could have been saved if their treatment had started at the right time.
And what about those who recover from their illness?They confront egregious obstacles in their efforts to resettle and find jobs.This could throw them back where they came from.
It is crystal clear that we all need to amend our views about mental disorders.Our disdain and discrimination obstruct their recovery and rehabilitation.They are forced to live on the margin like pariahs.A helping hand from us will enable them to join the mainstream and become productive members of society once again.It is certainly time to change!