Recently I watched this very interesting discussion on NDTV where famous Hindi movie actress Deepika Padukone and her mom are discussing about problem of depression which Deepika faced very recently. In this discussion they touch on various topics associated with mental health problems including huge stigma or taboo associated with discussing such issues openly in many societies. The stigma associated with any type of mental issues is so huge that not only society but the families and many times people themselves who suffer from such problems refuse to accept that there is any such problem and as a result of this refusal no proper discussion takes place which in turn makes these issues extremely complex to deal with. Depression is very common problem, we all have to deal with it at some stage of our lives. I think depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues which almost each one of us goes through only difference is to what extent they affect our day to day life. Many of us live our entire lives trying to battle with these type of problems, we are so scared about what people might think about us that we don't even mention about these issues to anyone, not even our closed ones.
I think we need to accept one thing first that mental issues like depression and anxiety are real, whenever we go through them they affect us and hurt us, so it is better that we acknowledge this and talk about this without any reservations. Today's high pressure, fast and somewhat isolated lifestyle has made all of us more prone to face these issues and I guess we all know that. It is not that people from previous generations never faced any such problems but may be they never had proper platforms to discuss and debate about any such issues but fortunately we have such platform and we should make good use of it. When I was in India I always thought that having a mental health issue means something very shameful and one should try as much as possible that people around us don't come to know about these things. I have seen many families (including my own) trying to hide any such issues with anyone within that family because they think that if people know about this thing their family will get a bad reputation and society might look differently to all members of their family. This fear and concern is often reaffirmed by very negative attitude of society towards mental health related issues. As there is severe lack of awareness and knowledge, people react to these issues even without knowing anything about it.
Without proper knowledge of any issue it is very dangerous to react just based on some common perceptions, this is what happens all the time in this case. Mental health issues are like any other health issues, people facing such issues need same type of attention, respect and medical care which others facing any non mental health problem receive. We don't consider people having flu or cold or cancer or diabetes or high blood pressure as weird or socially boycott them. We don't treat them with contempt or act like something is wrong with them, then why most of us react differently when we see someone who is going through depression or panic attack or some other mental health issue? First of all we need to remove this stigma, this is the biggest hurdle in dealing with this issue. Let's accept that we all (or most of us) face some degree of mental restlessness or mental health issues, therefore we all need to work towards getting rid of this stigma which has done more harm than good for our society. Sooner we learn to talk about mental health related issues without any bias or prejudice better for all of us. Mental health issues are real and people suffering from it don't need prejudice or stigmatization or quarantinization but they need everyone's support and unbiased treatment (medical as well as social). Let's hope that we as a society or country come out of our own mental weakness and learn to accept that these things are real and need our immediate attention and acceptance.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]
1. 'I Felt Empty And Directionless': Deepika Padukone on Her Battle With Depression
2. Read The Heart-Wrenching Open Letter To Deepika Padukone