Health is a process not a destination in life. A healthy life is a process that includes all aspects of an individual and social life. So whether it is physical, mental or even spiritual, one has to put adequate emphasis on the well-being of all components of life.
The issue of mental health becomes more complicated than others because the stigma, guilt and myths associated with this significant aspect of our well being prevent people from coming forward with their problems. This is especially true for more prevalent but less noticeable psychiatric problems like anxiety, depression, phobias, eating disorders, psycho somatic problems, psycho sexual problems etc. The psychological issues are often hidden by caregivers of children and women to avoid exposing them to stigma and discrimination. They often end up seeking help from un-qualified people or baba and jhad phook walas leading to delay in diagnosis and treatment and other deleterious effects that can have life- long consequences. The effect of long standing mental health issues on an individual’s personality and functionality prevent the individuals from living up to their full potential and some lives are even cut short by events like suicide and accidents.
Some of the common mental disorders that can be identified by a clinician at primary health level are:-
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post‑traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorder.
Don’t feel shy: Ask for qualified help
Once identified, patient and family members need to be adequately educated about what they are dealing with and why the treatment is important. The patients need to feel secure in the knowledge that having a psychological problem is not a sign of weakness and treatment is effective and often restores complete functionality. Clarifying any myths and concerns about treatment and medicines is imperative so that patients do not avoid seeking help. On a larger scale, the society needs to understand that no problem goes away by denying its existence, we have to accept that people around us can suffer from anxiety as they can suffer from common cold and there is no need for hiding or discriminating against them.