The importance of mental health awareness is being recognised by a large number of people across India. Millions of people in the country suffer from mental illnesses without even being aware of them. According to a study, at least 6.5 % of India’s population suffers from some form of serious mental illness. Suicide due to depression is one of the leading causes of death among teenagers and young adults in India.
Mental health issues can be hard to recognise if you are not aware of what to look for. In this article, we have listed some well-known symptoms of mental illness and the steps you can take to improve your mental health.
In simple terms, mental health refers to a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. Our state of mental health affects how we think, behave, feel, and is responsible for our choices. People suffering from mental health issues have trouble with their moods, thoughts and behaviours.
Some factors that negatively affect mental illness include genetics, biological factors like a chemical imbalance in the brain and traumatic events from the past. Symptoms of mental illness manifest themselves in many different ways. Here are a few symptoms that can help you determine if you or someone around you may be suffering from mental health issues:
Sleeping too much or very little: If you have been having problems with falling asleep or been sleeping for unnaturally long hours, it may be a symptom of a mental illness.
Eating too much or very little: Many use food as a coping mechanism to deal with their mental health issues. If you have been eating excessively or very little compared to your normal diet, it could be an indication of a mental issue.
Feeling disinterested in your daily life: If you have lost interest in your daily life routines such as school, college, work and even hobbies, it may be a sign of mental issues.
Feeling lethargic all the time: Lack of energy throughout the day for no apparent reason is one of the symptoms of mental illness such as depression.
Feeling anxious or angry for extended periods: This can be a sign of chemical imbalance in the brain.
Mood swings: Being unable to control your emotions is also one of the symptoms of mental illness.
Hallucinations: Hearing voices in your head or having hallucinations are symptoms of schizophrenia.
Thoughts about self-harm and suicide: These are serious symptoms and must be addressed immediately.
Addiction as coping strategy: Using smoking, drinking and drugs as coping methods for your problems may indicate mental illness and simply worsen your situation.
Feeling of hopelessness and despair: If this persists over a long time, it may be a sign of depression.
While mental health issues can be very difficult for people who are experiencing them, the good news is you can take steps to work on improving your mental health. Many studies have shown that spreading awareness about mental illness and access to mental healthcare services such as psychologists and mental health counsellors can be instrumental in helping mental illness patients to get better. Here are some steps that you can take to improve the state of your mental health:
Open up: If you’re feeling down, talk about your feelings with your close friends and family. Doing so will help you process your emotions better.
Exercise Regularly: Even though you may not feel like it, you should exercise regularly. Exercising releases feel-good endorphins which can improve your mood.
Eat nutritious foods: The type of food we eat affects our health. Eating healthy food ensures that our body and brain are getting all the necessary nutrition they require to function at optimal levels.
Stay in touch with friends and family: Being lonely for extended periods can negatively affect your mental health. Make sure you communicate and stay in touch with people close to you so that you do not feel isolated.
Take a break: If you are suffering from excessive stress related to work, family or something else, consider taking a break and going on vacation. A vacation will help improve your mood and recharge you mentally to deal with stress.
Pick up a hobby: Picking up a hobby like playing a musical instrument, cycling, chess or anything else can help you improve your mood and give you an outlet to express your creativity positively.
Seek help: This is the most important step you can take to improve your mental health. If you are feeling depressed or suffering from any mental health issues, you should seek help from a mental health professional immediately. They can help you identify the problem and give you treatments to get your life back on track.
For many years, mental health was not considered a real medical issue in India. However, with time, things have taken a positive turn. Multiple mental health awareness campaigns such as World Mental Health Awareness Day and Mental Awareness Week have created a lot of positive change in terms of spreading awareness. You can do your part by helping your friends and family understand the importance of mental health and encouraging them to seek help if they are suffering from mental health-related issues.
Treatments for mental illness can be time-consuming and expensive. However, numerous health insurance policies have started supporting mental health treatments as part of health insurance coverage. Getting health insurance will not only provide you with the means to get mental health treatment, but you can also rest easy knowing that you will be financially covered in case of any medical emergencies. You can take a look at the various health insurance plans available at Bajaj Markets and choose a plan that suits your needs.
If people are not aware of what mental illness looks like, they won’t know if they are suffering from one. Mental health awareness gives people the ability to recognise their mental issues and act on them.
As an individual, you can educate your close family and friends about the importance of mental health. If you know anyone suffering from mental issues, you can personally guide them to seek professional help.
Excessive use of social media sites has been linked to anxiety and depression.
Schools can raise awareness about mental health by teaching students from a young age to recognise signs of mental illness. They can also organise regular mental health awareness events.
Yes, multiple studies have shown that exercising can help improve your mood in the long term.