The only question that matters: WHY?
When we can instantly run to our nearest hospital for any physical illness, shop for medicines like shopping for new clothes to check our diabetes and cholesterol, then why are we so hesitant to seek treatment for mental illness? Why do we feel so shy to tell someone about our mental disorders? Why are mental illness patients judged for seeking help and labeled as “psychopaths” and “lunatics”? Why is our mental well-being any less important than our physical well-being? WHY?
As a society we need to start by focusing on a number of factors if we are to address this issue –
- Lack of skilled mental health professionals & facilities
- Lack of awareness of mental illness symptoms
- Lack of faith in treatment
- Lack of compliance with psychiatric treatment
- Lack of awareness about relapse
- Stigma associated psychiatric treatment
- Insufficient funding & low priority of healthcare budget
- Thinking mental disorders as a sign of weakness
Simply making new policies will not help people suffering from mental illness nor will it stop depressed people like VG Siddhartha from taking their own lives and leaving their families to grieve their untimely deaths.
This has to stop NOW!
In 2011, the World Health Organisation found that for every 100,000 mental illness patients, there were only 0·047 psychologists and 0·301 psychiatrists. The government has also failed to take the right steps and has only made empty promises regarding this issue. Did you know that a mere 0.06% of the health budget in India is allocated to mental health? This shocking fact was released the Human Right Watch.
To overcome this current scenario, there are certain things that we need to get started with immediately, like:
- Taking this mental health crisis seriously
- Motivating patients to seek professional help
- Spreading awareness that mental illness is an actual medical condition
- Making help readily available and accessible in a cost-effective manner
- Conducting free mental checkup camps by professionals and experts
- Talking about the benefits of psychotherapy
- Making self-treatment, research and help easily available through proper online modes
This is where The Minds Journal comes in.
The Minds Journal is an online mental and emotional wellness platform that aims to close the gap between mental disorders and professional therapy through various online channels. We plan to connect individuals hesitant to seek help with helplines, psychiatrists, psychologists, life coaches, and other experts.
What we aim to achieve
The fact is over 80% of Indian residents hesitate to seek any treatment when it comes to mental disorders. This why we need to focus on psychological, medical and social interventions to help those who are reluctant to ask for any help. Moreover there is a serious shortage of mental healthcare professionals in the country.
However, what is more important is that we end the stigma, ignorance, lack of awareness and apathy related to mental illness in India immediately. This is leading to isolation, shame and further suffering in the patients. And this can only be done by empowering those suffering from different mental health problems.
Moreover, schools, colleges and companies should also take the right measures to make sure their pupils and employees are not facing any mental health issues and if they are, they can readily access treatment even without asking, if needed. Evaluation of every individual, from the janitors, students and employees to the principals and the CEO, should be made mandatory at an interval of every 3 months. A strict annual health program which will also focus on mental health crisis, should be made compulsory in every educational institute and business organisation. The management should also encourage people to express their thoughts and emotions openly and privately without the fear of being judged or shamed.
What we have to offer
Today, there is a strong need for a platform like The Minds Journal that can empower individuals suffering from mental disorders to connect with each other and develop supportive network. We wish to help them help each other and prevent one another from feeling isolated, alone or alienated. By sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other, we want to enable mental health patients to seek professional help.