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Mental health is everyone’s business.
15 Jan 2022
Mental health is everyone’s business. image

Mental and physical health are equally significant parts of overall health. Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health. Hence is vital at every phase of life; from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and aging. 

Every individual has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, or income. Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs.

But the good news is that mental illness is treatable, and most individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives.


About 13% of the world’s population suffers from one form or the other of mental health problems. But according to the World Health Organization (or the WHO), approximately 20 percent of Indian citizens suffer from some form of mental illness.

Since the country has a high proportion of children and adolescents affected by mental disorders, it is important to ensure that they are provided with proper care and treatment.

Therefore experts and researchers use terms like “epidemic” and “crisis” to characterize the mental health challenges currently facing American college students.

But according to recent studies, one in five college students suffers from some sort of recurring feelings of self-loathing and immense sadness.

Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).

So what is (good) mental health?

According to the World Health Organization: “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can make a contribution to his or her community.”

“Therefore mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health. Mental health is determined by a range of socioeconomic, biological and environmental factors.” 

“Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders.”

What is mental health disorder or condition?

Mental illness also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior.

We all have times when we feel down, stressed, or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem, and this could happen to any one of us.

mental health disorders are characterized by feelings of distress; lack of control, choice, and autonomy; low self-esteem and confidence; a sense of not being part of society; diminished activity; and a sense of hopelessness and demoralization.

In the short-term, mental health problems can cause people to be alienated from their peers.

College students and mental health

Mental health issues are the leading impediment to academic success. Mental illness can affect students’ motivation, concentration and therefore it is a crucial factor for students to succeed in higher education.

Sometimes these mental health issues may be the result of unhealthy amounts of stress and anxiety. This may also be the result of failing to fit into groups and not making friends.

According to a survey by a Boston University researcher of nearly 33,000 college students across the country reveals the prevalence of depression and anxiety in young people continues to increase, now reaching its highest levels. Its title reads:  Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness Are Peaking in College Students.

Most importantly, mental health disorders have their peak onset during young adulthood. Kessler et al. observed that by the age of 25 years, 75% of those who will have a mental health disorder have had their first onset.

Therefore health issues are the leading impediment to academic success. Mental illness can affect students’ motivation, concentration, and social interactions—crucial factors for students to succeed in higher education 

Covid-19 and its mental health impact on students

The Covid-19 situation has brought the student mental health in higher education into renewed and sharp focus.

The main reason is the sudden and radical lifestyle changes due to constraints on physical movement and social activities due to quarantine. The primary causes for stress were infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. 

Mental health: Literacy and spreading awareness

Advancing psychology to benefit society and improve lives

Unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable and don’t talk much about mental health problems because of the attached stigma attached. 

Stigma and discrimination are negative consequences of ignorance and misinformation.

Though many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings, it’s healthy to know and say how you feel. 

One major change being noticed is the shift in society’s attitudes; people are becoming more accepting of mental health problems and more supportive of people with issues.

Therefore we should together strive further to make mental illness free of stigma collectively, as a society. When social stigma is removed, so will the self-stigma that people suffering from mental illness face. 

By creating and raising awareness we have the potential to revolutionize how we view and treat mental health in the future.

The five warning signs of mental illness

  • Excessive paranoia, worry, or anxiety.
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extreme changes in moods.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping patterns.

Looking after mental health can preserve a person’s ability to enjoy life. Because doing this involves balancing life activities, responsibilities, and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

Treatment and prevention

Early detection and intervention are crucial since they can slow the progression of the disease and restore one’s ability to function normally.

While help is available for dealing with mental illnesses, unfortunately, it’s significantly underused.

Mental Health Crisis Helplines 24/7/365

  • Mental health hotlines are a good starting point for getting help for mental illness since hotline operators have access to a wealth of information and resources and provide support to people with mental illness or their loved ones.
  • The most important function of a mental health helpline is to connect you with treatment providers to reduce the impact a mental illness has on your functioning.
  • All calls to a hotline are private and confidential, which can ease the discomfort about making the call for some people. When you reach a hotline, you will speak to thoroughly trained hotline employees and volunteers.

Consulting a psychiatrist

  • Take a friend or family member along—someone you trust—as the appointment can be overwhelming.
  • Make a list of all your symptoms.
  • Try and think of triggers for your symptoms, and list them.
  • Keep a full medical history ready, including all medications that you use/have used.
  • Remember to be as honest as you can. Everything that happens in an appointment with a psychiatrist is confidential. 


Self-care, to prevent mental health disorders, including everything you do to take care of your well-being in four key dimensions – your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Being physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills
  • Taking professional help, if you need it

Coping mechanism during Covid-19

  • Positive coping methods: Meditation and breathing exercises, spiritual measures, keeping routines, and positive reframing. Relaxing hobbies include physical exercise, enjoying streaming services and social media, playing with pets, journaling, listening to music, reading, drawing, and even planning their daily activities (e.g., drafting to-do lists) for academic work and personal matters as a self-distraction method.
  • Seeking Support from Others: Communicating and frequently connecting with families and friends was a primary way to deal with stress and anxiety during COVID-19. 
  • A crisis intervention centre for the depressed, distressed, and suicidal. The helpline provides unconditional and unbiased emotional support to callers and visitors.

Remember, positive mental health and wellness allow people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Dear student, tell yourself it is okay to

  • make mistakes to have bad days 
  • be less than perfect
  • do what is best for you 
  • be yourself

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a medical problem, just like heart disease or diabetes.

Consult a mental health expert as soon as possible if you have any doubts or mental health struggles. Mental illness is treatable, and most individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives.

-Sonia George

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