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Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 14:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 09:12 [IST]

10th October: World Mental Health Day

No health without mental health

RANJAN K BARUAH
We cannot think of good health when there is poor mental health. It is very challenging to know about the mental health conditions as we are yet to explore more on it. It is easy to notice our physical health as it can be seen directly or indirectly easily in comparison with mental health. The recent COVID 19 pandemic has bought more challenges when it comes to mental health. It is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.
We must understand that mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders and it is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health. It is determined by a range of socioeconomic, biological and environmental factors.  The World Health Organisation’s constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
There are many factors which impact one’s mental health. Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point of time. Violence in any forms, harassment, work abuse, discrimination apart from others adds to mental health issues. We should not think that this is an issue with poor people or someone who cannot afford to be in a good lifestyle. This affects each and everyone including individuals who are having more resources than others.
In 2013, the World Health Assembly approved a "Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020". The Plan is a commitment by all WHO’s Member States to take specific actions to improve mental health and to contribute to the attainment of a set of global targets. The Action Plan’s overall goal is to promote mental well-being, prevent mental disorders, provide care, enhance recovery, promote human rights and reduce the mortality, morbidity and disability for persons with mental disorders.
One of the occasions that provide us opportunity to raise awareness is celebration of World Mental Health Day which is observed on 10th October every year. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
This year’s observance comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why the goal of this year’s campaign is focussed on increased investment in mental health.  The last few months have been a big challenge for all of us. People have to migrate back to their place as there is no work, students are unable to attend regular classes and heath workers are facing challenges along with all front line workers. Many people have lost their loved one without saying good bye and we can imagine the stress it brings to some one’s life when they lose their loved ones.
Let us take the opportunity of the day and demand more investment from the government when it comes to mental health. Instead of facing the problem or challenges we have to make sure that one may come out from the challenges for which trained counsellors are needed apart from doctors. Many people think that working in the issue of mental health is like a taboo but we must come out of it and start work for positive mental health. Let us make sure that our mental health is also healthy so that we can contribute to the positive social transformation in society to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals.
(With direct inputs from WHO publication and feedback may be sent to bkranjan@gmail.com)


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi