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Should we look after our mental health?

More than 75 years into independence and still India is struggling with issues related to mental health. The mindset of people, myths, and misconceptions continue to riddle and stigmatise the minds of the general population. My 30 years into Psychiatry, and I am still grappling with grass root problems of people understanding symptoms of mental illness, taking cognizance of the same and coming forth for treatment. Sadly, it makes us realise about the importance given to mental health. Though WHO talks about “no health without mental health,” and the Covid pandemic made people and Governments all over the globe realise the importance of mental wellbeing, the prioritisation of mental wellbeing is still to be seen.

When we talk about mental health and wellbeing it reflects on our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, act on challenges, explore choices build relationships and shape the world we live in, making it an integral component of health. Mental health is also a basic human right and hence the community needs to strive for the same. Mental health literacy   refers to ‘knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention.’ India lacks behind in mental health literacy and its exact prevalence is not known. Greater mental health literacy would lead to positive mental health and therefore a better society. In such an existing scenario, the onus of keeping oneself mentally fit is therefore on the person himself/herself.