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Free India- Mentally and Physically Fit India - A Pledge

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Free India- Mentally and Physically Fit India - A Pledge





15th August 2020 marks the 74th anniversary of India’s freedom. While we seek to create an “Atma nirbhar Bharat”, it is important to act as ‘responsible citizens’ towards important yet sensitive issues in our society, one of them being ‘Mental Health’. Independence Day is an important day for all of us, it not only marks our freedom, but also growth and development. Even today, our society struggles to grow in one of the most important aspects of life: “Mental Health Wellness”.

This Independence Day, let’s make the following pledges to bridge this gap.

1. Pledge to Break the Stigma:

This Independence Day let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, it is the stereotypical, discriminatory and exclusionary nature of the social treatment towards people with mental conditions, with India being of the largest contributors to that at 15%. It is high time that we pay heed to this situation. In the past decade a number of organizations and mental health professionals have worked hard to de-stigmatize mental health, but we aren’t there yet. To resolve this issue, the foremost action we all should take is increasing awareness and advocacy of the importance of psychological health. We can eliminate the shame around seeing or visiting a therapist, normalizing the concept of ‘going to therapy or counseling’.

What can you do?

Support a friend who is seeking therapy instead of joking around him/her. Provide emotional support to someone you know. If you come across someone who is misinformed, educate them in a way that they can take the light of ray further.

2. Pledge to Break the Judgments and Stereotyping:

You must have heard “men don’t cry”, “these issues come with old age”; “He is just a kid, this is probably a phase”; or he’ll grow out of it”.

Well, mental illnesses like physical illness aren’t sexist, ageist or racist. The above comments are stereotypes. Stereotyping and judgmental attitude can prevent people from seeking the mental aid that they need.

What can you do?

Find out if you can ascertain stereotypical behavior, if you engage in it yourself; try to refrain from making such comments. Self- educate against the stereotypical notions. If you notice someone else doing it, correct them and educate them.

3. Pledge to become a Listening Ear:

In the recent times, the number of cases of isolation and loneliness has grown tremendously. The reason behind this is people feel that no one wants to listen to them. While it might be true in cases where people cannot handle others suffering as it gets personal for them. Emphatic listening is one of the many psychological ‘First Aids’ that you can provide to people. Your listening ear will provide someone of psychological health concerns with calmness and healing.

What can you do?

If you come across someone who is emotionally suffering, needs an ear, a friend, make sure that you provide them with this support. Be emphatic instead of just being sympathetic. If you feel you aren’t helping them, refer them to a professional and educate them showing benefits about counseling and therapy.

4. Pledge to include Mental Health Professionals in “The Healthcare Spectrum”:

We all know that doctors (physicians, surgeons etc,) are respected globally. However, mental healthcare workers have received low or no appreciation that they deserve. Comments like “doctor of mental patients sure is psycho”, “Real doctors are those who give medicine, no talks.” Such an attitude towards the field in society, has lead to a huge shortage of professionals with ratios as worse as 0.3 psychiatrists and 0.7 psychologists per 1,00,000 individuals.

What can you do?

First of all, do not belittle any profession. Secondly, educate yourself before commenting on any profession. Coming to the case of mental health professionals in our country, do promote their work; they are as important as physicians. If you come across someone complaining about them, try to voice out that they are misinformed. Lastly, appreciate their work.

5. Pledge to Stand Up in What You Believe:

‘Speak Up’; ‘Volunteer’; ‘Practice Advocacy’ for the causes you believe in. Every voice helps. 

What can you do?

If you believe in the cause of mental health, speak up, voice your opinions, educate people about it, demystify and destigmatize mental health. This sounds tedious, right? but it isn’t. It is as simple as correcting someone if they’re misinformed, making a small donation, volunteering for an event. All it will take is some of your time and some sincere efforts.

Last but, the most important-

6. Pledge to work towards your own Holistic Wellbeing: 

Take care of your mental health. If you know the importance of mental health wellbeing, practice the same for yourself. Try to strike a balance between your ‘physical-psychological’ and ‘social health’. To do so, maintain a healthy sleep cycle of 6-8 hours, balanced diet, yoga or some form of exercise. Incorporate self care in your routine.

What can you do?

Read the last pledge again.

 

Are you willing to take your pledges this year, do you want to work towards mental health, let us know in the comments section below.

 

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