Talking about mental health can save lives and it’s high time that we start discussing it at home

Mental health conversations are at the forefront all over the world, but what’s essential to remember is that it all begins from home. Read on to know more
siblings can impact mental health
Taking care of each other's mental health should begin at home. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Nachikaeta Sinha Published: 6 Aug 2021, 09:00 am IST
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Mental well-being is an integral part of our health. It is the foundation for the happiness and effective functioning of every individual. Mental illnesses affect almost 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year. However, only half of those affected receive treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health.

Although the awareness around mental illness has improved over time, studies still illustrate that stigma against mental illness is influential, largely due to media stereotypes and lack of education. The negative stigmas to mental health conditions that people tend to attach are at a far higher rate than to other diseases and disabilities. This stigma affects not only the number seeking treatment but also the number of resources available for proper treatment. Stigma can also sometimes feel devastating for someone, who is struggling with a mental health condition. And it is about time that people start addressing the roots of concern and initiate discussions from the primary level of conditioning as an individual, from their childhood in their safe space — home.

Why is home such an integral part of our mental health journey?

Home is where we learn our first lessons and discussing mental health at home should be an integral part. Discussing mental health at home can start a revolution in emotional wellness and help individuals with their personal issues.  In an evolving society, the practice will help in encouraging an open-minded and less-stereotyped world. Addressing the problem at the grassroots level will further prove to be an effective way to go about things, as a home is often considered to be a feeling, where one is comfortable with the company of people who provide emotional support.  Thus, venting about one’s state of mind or simply keeping them informed of mental wellness concerns will help give rise to a healthier generation.

mental health
In the same way we educate about physical health concerns such as heart disease, it’s critical that we start conversations about mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

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The devastation of the pandemic — millions of deaths, economic strife, and unprecedented curbs on social interaction — has marked an effect on people’s mental health, and it is only becoming evident with passing days that mental wellness is being drained. This is leading to increased levels of anxiety, panic and stress. The turbulent tides have not settled yet and to make sure that we do not face an emotional crisis in the future– it has become imperative to voice our problems at home.

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This perspective shift in society is only possible by embracing discussions around emotional well-being at home and by destigmatizing the talk about mental health.

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Speak about your triggers

The discussions will not only bring us close to our loved ones but also keep them informed of our triggers and thus avoiding any unintended set-offs. The actual talk helps people suffering from concerns in coping better, especially with their family looking out for them routinely and avoiding any instigations that might halt their progress or rupture their healing process. Furthermore, it also encourages more and more people to discuss the things that they are facing, seek help on time, and diagnose their concern before it causes severe damage. With people turning to stay-at-home professionals due to current circumstances, it is healthy to be transparent with mental well-being problems and come out with open conversations about the things that matter.

Mental health concerns and conditions, professional treatment and therapies, discussions about awareness, or simply venting openly are as common as getting scratched by the door, slipping on the stairs, nursing a knee wound, or caring for cough and cold with a weak immune system. We all need a moment to reflect and then shift gears to drive the mental health conversation in the right direction. Supporting our loved ones through challenging times is much better than regretting if we should have openly addressed what they were going through.

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About the Author

Dr Nachikaeta Sinha, a consultant psychiatrist who is a dedicated professional working towards breaking stigmas. Working in New Brunswick, Canada since 2006, he has been active in initiating important changes to mental health delivery systems and has a unique ability to bring different stakeholders together for a common goal. He is also known for playing an instrumental role in the introduction of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) in New Brunswick. ...Read More

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