There has been a lot of conversation surrounding mental health. Depression, suicidal thoughts, OCD (the actual obsessive-compulsive disorder) and other mental issues, which were earlier simply dismissed, now seem to be having a space in the regular space of the mainstream healthcare.
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was one of the first people to start the conversation about mental health by opening up about her long and tough battle with depression. This was the beginning of the raising of awareness about mental health. This was perhaps the first time mental health became a part of the mainstream conversation in a country like India, where mental health issues are a huge taboo.
Yet, the fact remains that mental health still remains not just a taboo, rather a nonexistent entity in the conversations between teenagers and their parents in normal, middle-class families, especially those living in tier 2 cities.
Even though the awareness has greatly risen, it has still not reached all. Along with that, we do not see any improvement in the actual access to mental health treatment. our country has very few psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health care professionals, in general. This ratio between psychiatrists and the population is as bad as one professional for every 200,000 people. The figure given is especially worrying since we have one of the highest student suicide rates in the world and these people need access to low-cost mental health care. They cannot be left to deal with their mental health issues without any help from a professional since they are problems as serious as a physical illness.
It is time we reduce the gap between our actions and our words. Encourage those who need help to ask for it. Let us all be approachable and nonjudgemental when a person is suffering from a mental health issue. One way we can help them is by trying to give them some emotional support and tell them that it is okay to have problems and to not be ashamed of it. Encourage them to seek help.