There is no health without mental health. Mental disorders have a substantial effect on all areas of life, such as our relationships with family and friends, school or work performance, response to day-to-day stressors and ability to participate in the community. However, mental disorders remain most ignored, stigmatized, discriminated against and ill-treated. So, what are mental disorders?
Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems generally characterized by abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and relationships with others. The World Health Organization (WHO) mental health survey indicated that about 450 million people worldwide are affected by mental disorders. Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health condition.
Factors like rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, drug abuse, risks of violence, physical ill-health and human rights violations have been implicated as reasons for the rapidly growing burden of mental disorders.
Two of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, are also leading causes of disability. Statistics indicate that nearly 70% of mental health patients in low-income countries like India receive no treatment for severe mental disorders. Many mental health conditions can be effectively treated at relatively low cost, yet the gap between people needing care and those with access to care remains substantial.
There is a lot of social stigma associated with mental disorders mainly due to lack of awareness, prejudice and stereotypes, and complications of mental illness such as odd behaviours and violence. Having a mental illness is still considered a shameful condition that causes the person or the family to lose face. People suffering from mental illness are perceived to be irresponsible and incompetent. People often hide the fact that a family member is suffering from mental illness. Consulting a mental health specialist doctor or a counsellor is still considered taboo in many families even in urban areas. Stigma can lead to discrimination.
Mental illness is not something shameful that needs to be hidden. Do not self- doubt, feel hopeless or isolate yourself. Do not be reluctant to ask for help or to get treatment. Talking about your mental illness with a specialist will help you on your road to recovery. You can overcome your illness or achieve what you want in life.
All of us have a role to play in creating a mentally healthy society. We can do this by learning facts about mental illness and sharing them with friends, family and colleagues. It is most helpful to treat those suffering from mental illness with respect and dignity and encouraging them to take medical treatment. Homoeopathy believes that body and mind are integrated. The founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Hahnemann was also a pioneer in the area of mental health. He recognized and advocated humane treatment for mental illness as early as in the 17th century. According to homoeopathy concept, physical disease is accompanied by a change in the mental/emotional state and mental/emotional states, especially if prolonged may lead to physical illness. Homoeopathy treatment is holistic. Individualization is essential to find out the best suitable medicine for each case. This is because the manifestation of the same disease is different in each individual due to different constitutional and susceptibility. Homoeopathy with its holistic view of “man” in health and disease and proven cost-effectiveness is a valid option for the treatment of this growing burden of mental disorders.