Blog by Medha Somayaji, Aishwarya Anand and Chirag Kirpalani
Mentioning this term just 50 years ago would get you a blank look in people’s eyes, almost as if the word was completely alien to them. For years, people have refrained from talking about mental health in public because of the constant taboo associated with it. However, on the other hand, there have been several articles, publications and media broadcasts covering mental health as an extensive topic which brings us to our question: Over the past few years, has the situation changed for the better?
Back in the day, almost several centuries ago, mental health issues were usually disregarded and were thought to be caused by supernatural powers or a curse from a vengeful God. From religious rituals and black magic, the people resorted to different practices, usually harmful for the sufferer. Even ancient Egyptians and Greeks had their theories of explaining how mental illnesses were caused, but once again, the therapeutic approach only managed to do the patients more harm than good.
So as we look back at our past and think about the present, our initial question, of whether or not things are changing for the better, becomes easy to answer. Slowly but surely, topics related to mental health are being spoken about more than ever before. People have certainly changed their attitude towards people with mental health issues. Previously, the concept of therapists was frowned upon and people would rarely approach a therapist as they feared being judged by members of society. Being mentally unwell that was previously a matter of embarrassment, is finally being given the gravity of concern that it deserves.
There is a need for increased sensitivity while talking about one’s mental health and more and more people have begun to realize that due to which many trauma survivors and sufferers feel confident enough to open up. Constant changes are being made, for example in the way we address people as survivors rather than victims or how trigger warnings are of utmost importance before speaking about mental illnesses and other grave matters.
Intensive and complete education at a personal or public level about some of the most common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, has increased over the years. Several schools and colleges actively take up initiatives to teach children and young adults about mental health and how one should keep themselves healthy physically, mentally and socially.
Being left in mental asylums when you are undergoing mental trauma is slowly becoming a thing of the past. People with mental health conditions are increasingly treated with love and affection and with a great deal of understanding from their loved ones. Albeit a small step towards breaking the stigma, there’s much more to come. The discussion is still not where it is ideally supposed to be, but some amount of change is better than none. A lot of people still treat mental health as a subject of taboo resulting in a lot of harassment and judgement of mentally unwell individuals. However, that does not mean that the accomplishments that we’ve achieved over the past years, is not worth appreciation. Let’s acknowledge these improvements and ensure that our generation continues to take the necessary steps to further improve and evolve so that the world is a safe space for us all.