Shri Divyanshu Shekhar 


(Young author Shri Divyanshu Shekhar writes poems, stories, plays and scripts in Hindi and English. His first collection of poems  “Zindagi – ek chalchitra” was published in May 2017 and first English Novel “Too Close – Too Far” in December 2018. Today we present his article “Be Mental but don’t be Judgmental. The article is a thorough study and  research work done by young author Mr Divyanshu on the contemporary incidents. )  

☆ Be Mental but don’t be Judgmental☆

The suicidal death news of a great actor Sushant Singh Rajput jolted all of us. It is still hard to believe but unfortunately, it happened. He was a well-known celebrity and his death got limelight and suddenly we all started talking about “Mental Health”. But it’s not a new topic, it is just an ignored topic in our society. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), each year approximately one million people die by suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 are residents of India. Globally mortality rate is of one death every 40 seconds but there are lots of unreported and hidden cases that will exacerbate our count estimation problem. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds which is really scary.

But why things are getting worse?

Why talking about Mental health is still a taboo in our society? Why Brain is not treated like other body parts? Why visiting a Psychiatrist doesn’t create such empathy like other medical issues? Why showing off is more important than actual ground reality? Why people are giving up on struggle and becoming obsessed with results? Why our expectations are becoming so calculative and materialistic?

Why showing off happiness is more important than being happy? Why expressing true emotions and sharing feelings become so difficult? Why we are living various characters parallel? And there are lots of other questions too and we have to work on that. We can’t deny the fact that our continued ignorance of this topic is responsible for the current situation. Now it’s time to talk, listen, understand, and act otherwise we will go through lots of unbearable losses.

First, we have to understand what is Mental health?

Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological well-being. Having good mental health helps us lead a relatively happy and healthy life. It helps us demonstrate resilience and the ability to cope in the face of life’s adversities. Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health.

Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Our mental health can be influenced by a variety of factors, including life events or even our genetics.

When we talk about health then we should also talk about related illnesses.

Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions – disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. We have to understand that anyone can suffer from mental or emotional health problems and over a lifetime most of us will. Everyone has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, income, or ethnicity. Social and financial circumstances, biological factors, and lifestyle choices can all shape a person’s mental health.

Now let’s take a look at some statistics which might give you goosebumps.

One in four people in the world gets affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. The worst part, that up to 90 percent of suicide deaths result from underlying mental and substance use disorders.

Yet despite how common mental health problems are, many of us make no effort to improve our situation. We don’t want to struggle, we ignore the emotional messages that tell us something is wrong and try it out by distracting ourselves or self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive behaviors. We bottle up our problems in the hope that others won’t notice. We hope that our situation will eventually improve on its own or we simply give up.

Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination, and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.

But why people try to hide these problems? Actually, they are scared of sharing mental problems because our society has wrong and judgmental views towards mental illness. They feel a lack of confidence and faith to share their true emotions and feelings. But we need to be honest and loyal to ourselves. Until we won’t love and consider ourselves as our priority, no-one else will. I think we shouldn’t feel guilty for being mentally ill, we should feel guilty for being judgmental.

Everyone has their own perspectives and struggle stories. Right and Wrong are manipulative words because their definitions vary from person to person and according to the scenarios. So, we should not impose our set of beliefs on others. Instead, we should make ourselves worthy of someone’s faith and to understand their concerns. Healthy communications and kind actions make the mind and problems light and we should work on that. Our collaborative and positive efforts will overcome these problems.

Now, what should be the correct treatment for the diagnosed people?

As I said earlier first we need to understand and treat this illness like other medical problems. It means these problems should be recognized and then patients should go for the right treatment.

One important point we need to understand that treatment for mental health disorders is not one size fits all, and it does not offer a cure. Instead, treatment aims to reduce symptoms, address underlying causes, and make the condition manageable. You and your doctor will work together to find a plan. It may be a combination of treatments because some people have better results with a multi-angle approach. The most common mental health treatments are Medications and Psychotherapy.

Now the question is when it might happen with anyone at any stage of life. So how can we boost our mental health or I can say what can we do for better mental immunity?

Mental illness is not a personal failure. This huge burden of mental, behavioral, and substance use disorders, in our society, calls for the immediate attention of political leaders, policymakers, health professionals, opinion-makers, and people at large. Most significantly, mental health should be given higher priority in the developmental agenda. All policies and programs in health and all related sectors of welfare, education, employment and other programs should include and integrate mental health agenda in their policies, plans, and programs.

And as an individual, we should find purpose and meaning in life. Everyone derives meaning and purpose in different ways that involve benefiting others, as well as themselves. We may think of it as a way to feel needed, feel good about ourselves, a purpose that drives us on, or simply a reason to get out of bed in the morning. In biological terms, finding meaning and purpose is essential to brain health as it can help generate new cells and create new neural pathways in the brain. It can also strengthen our immune system, alleviate pain, relieve stress, and keep us motivated to pursue the other steps to improve mental and emotional health.

Obviously, “Responsibility” is a great word which keeps us going even sometimes without our full intentions but we have to keep balance in our life. Take care of yourself and your loved ones and do some crazy things, which makes you happy. Enjoy the moments at the fullest and release the pressure from your mind and heart. We can never find peace of mind until we listen to our hearts. “Happiness” is the most lovable word in this World. Everyone has a desire to be happy but deep inside we all know that in this running world emptiness is winning the race with happiness. But why?

Freedom is the secret of happiness but we are in a race that is decided by others and according to their expectations and perceptions. We are trying to live and show a standard that is set by someone else.

The day we will understand that success and happiness have no specific standards. The day we will start living life like a journey, not like a destination, most of the problems will be automatically resolved.

But remember one thing happiness is not something ready-made we have to earn it. Struggling is essential to happiness because of the lessons learned and how certain aspects of it serves its purpose. Without a little struggle throughout life, we would have never known better choices and we would never have found true happiness.

But we don’t have to feel bad. There are practices we can adopt to elevate our mood, become more resilient, and enjoy life more. But just as it requires effort to build and maintain physical health, so it is with mental health. We have to work harder these days to ensure strong mental health, simply because there are so many ways that life takes a toll on our emotional well-being and we have to face all those situations wisely and bravely.

© Divyanshu Shekhar

Kolkata (West Bengal)

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