On the Importance of Mental Health

On the Importance of Mental Health
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By no stretch of imagination can Kashmir be described as a “normal” place. (Obiter Dictum, “normal” is a relative condition; there can, probably be no society which is entirely normal). The people of Kashmir are caught in the crucible of conflict which is not their own making. And, conflict(s) exact a toll – psychical, emotional and psychological- on people. In general too, in places not riven by conflict(s), there are some unfortunate people who suffer from conditions that are not sanguine- mentally and emotionally. But, at times, cultural and social proclivities and preferences drive mental health issues underground, so to speak. This means that if a person has mental health issues, say depression or schizophrenia, society neither accepts these issues as such and there is also a taboo involved here. Under such conditions, people having mental health issues either suffer in silence or , if and once , their conditions become public, they are at the sufferance of taboos , with society interpreting their condition(s) through its cultural prism. This is, insofar, as “ normal” conditions, are concerned. In conditions of conflict, mental health issues can multiply. But, yet again, there is no recourse or remedy available to people. First, it is difficult to actually know that a person is suffering from mental or emotional issues. Consider the example of trauma. A person who has or actually undergoes trauma, through an event or some other cause, does not know or understand the nature of the trauma, till it is too late. And, when the effects of the trauma manifest themselves, it is usually too late. Given these issues , contexts and other related reasons, what is the remedy? Mental and emotional health is very important for the normal functioning of individuals and hence societies. Well functioning individuals means well functioning societies. It is therefore extremely important to nip the problem or issue(s) of mental health , in the bud. This can, perhaps, best be done by making people aware , through mass and effective awareness programs about mental health. Recognition of the problem would constitute the first step and then steps to fight the problem the next one. Mental health, besides being a problem for an individual, is a social problem. And, it can best be dealt and combated with by society. Whole of society efforts need to be crystallized and then implemented to deal with this problem. Let us gird our belts and resolve to fight this problem head on!

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