Addressing mental health

Mental health is a major concern worldwide and India is not far behind in sharing this. Some of the strategies undertaken to target mental awareness and address stigma around mental illness include participation by family members, sensitization to treatment and social inclusion

mental-health

1.Mental health awareness

Lack of information concerning the mental illnesses poses a confront to the mental health care delivery system. Mental health awareness campaigns can help yield positive outcomes. They provide a favorable impact and can produce positive change in people’s views of mental illnesses. Mental illness is the phrase that refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders that are health conditions that are characterized by modifications in thinking, mood, or behavior

With rising awareness, it can be expected that early recognition and access to treatment will follow, as will the adoption of preventive measures. For the large Indian population to be involved in its own mental health, the only way forward is through enhancing mental health awareness

2.Conventional media

Making evidence-based mental health information easily available to journalists and other content providers like internet portals from trusted and reliable sources like Indian Psychiatry Society, research organizations, medical colleges, etc., through their websites is a relatively simple step. Accessibility of simply translated jargon-free content in various regional languages in written and spoken forms will go a long way. It also behoves professionals in the mental health domain to take the lead in engaging and partnering with the media.

3.Educational system

Most chronic and debilitating mental illnesses have their onset before 24 years of age when most are a part of the educational system. From including mental health narratives in curricula toward, de-stigmatization, removing discrimination and early detection, to empowering stakeholders for early detection and simple interventions; the educational system yields myriad opportunities for enhancing mental health awareness.

4.Industry

The organized sector suffers significant loss of effective workforce through mental ill-health. Not only as a part of corporate social responsibility but also to maintain productivity, it becomes important to engage with mental health awareness in a concerted fashion.

5.Internet, social media and cellphones

Hand-held devices and the social media can truly be game-changers in the propagation of effective mental health interventions through focussed amplification, and not just in increasing information. With the greater utilization of big data, the understanding of subtle and distributed patterns over large volumes shall inform decision making.

6.Crowd-sourcing

The ultimate convergence of information and technology in a free society results in crowd-sourcing which breaks down barriers of geography, historical inequities, and economies of scale. It is the true involvement of communities real and virtual, harnessed to make a change. Thus, dynamic ideas of individuals can synergize with the success stories of nongovernmental organizations to amplify them across geographies and time. Crowd-funding is a successful model in testing radical ideas which flounder outside the mainstream.

Progressive government policies based on evidence-based approaches, an engaged media, a vibrant educational system, a responsive industry, aggressive utilization of newer technologies and creative crowd-sourcing might together help dispel the blight of mental illnesses.