Depression, dementia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s are usually the terms we come across on social media. These diseases are very alarming and life-threatening yet people negate this and pay very less or no attention to mental illnesses. When we have a cold or fever, the first thing we do is consult a doctor and take medication to fight the virus. But when it comes to mental illness we feel that it can be controlled by the mind. There is no specific awareness when it comes to mental illness. As a psychologist, the encounters I face are that of ridicule. When I say I am a counsellor, people first laugh it off and say that psychos come to consult me. Though it pains me from within, I also take it as a personal responsibility to spread awareness on the common mental illness that Indians encounter. Through this article, I would like to highlight what mental illness is? And how can it be treated without having to worry about social stigma?

India being the second most populated country has its pride in its young generation comprising of more than half the population. The young generation of our country is very dynamic and intelligent in their approach towards life. They have brought in gender equality to an extent; in umbrella term, we can say that our country is becoming more secular and open for women. Bollywood actresses and popular personalities are bringing worldwide recognition to women empowerment and this is such a proud era to witness. But just as every coin as a flipside, women too are affected by mental illness. Recent studies have shown that women are more affected by mental illness than men because they tend to over think and over worry about situations that are not evident in reality. Women are also more prone to dementia and depression and this is directly affecting their personal relationships.

Both men and women do not understand the seriousness of mental illness and certainly do not know how to get treated. Mental illnesses have become mere memes on Facebook, taglines on t-shirt and therapy have become an expensive affair. Yes, I do agree that any publicity is good publicity. However, mental illnesses are not mere adjectives and things have to be taken seriously. If one out of four of us are clinically depressed then we need to help our fellow women! Though these are one of the gateways to spread awareness, it must be done more cautiously.

The most common illness among women is depression. Depression has a spectrum of mood swings that can be easily confused for temporary sadness. Depression is a clinical condition that is treatable. The symptoms of depression could be as simple as experiencing fatigue, crying spells, loss of appetite and suicidal tendencies for more than two weeks. The best possible solution for this is to visit a nearby counsellor or a psychiatrist immediately. In such cases, medication is given with utmost priority. Regular counselling helps the individual experience ground reality. Mental illness can occur due to lifestyle changes and recent traumatic events in one’s life. It also can occur due to genetic tendencies in the family. So girls, take a look at your family history and if you are experiencing similar symptoms, look for a solution immediately without haste. If you are hesitant to spend extra bucks on therapy or if it is difficult to muster the guts to meet a therapist, feel free to take help from online emotional wellness centres that provide counselling/therapy for free. YourDost is one such service that gives you free consulting. You can opt that for a start.

As women, we need to stand by each other and help each other grow up. In order to so this, we must BRING THE CHANGE AND BE THE CHANGE in the patriarchal society.

Photo Courtesy: The Plaid Zebra