It is a well-established fact that the world we live in is an unequal world; sad but true. Almost everybody in this world knows it. Hence to reduce its omnipresence there are people working towards making it equal as well. But “inequality” isn’t a small word. It comes with its own aspects. For most of these aspects, like income inequality, gender inequality, etc. changes are coming in and that too groundbreaking ones. But the one neglected facet of inequality still hiding in the shadows is of Mental Health.

Contribution of the Pandemic

The pandemic gave the entire world an immeasurable amount of pain. On the other hand, it also gave us some gifts- it led to the rise in the emphasis of mental health and related problems, the plight of the people suffering from it, resources to help them and increasing efforts to understand them. This end product of the pandemic was applauded and appreciated all over the world on various platforms like social media, television, and print. Even after this, a genuine concern begged attention. It was observed that the pandemic was not the only reason why people felt the way they did. This concern became even more acute when observed how gravely other stratifications affected a person’ mental health and had been affecting it for years. These stratifications were the things that were generally overlooked.

The lack of reliable sources

Understanding your own mental health is a tough process, there are many layers covering it. A person’s social, economic, religious, geographic, political stratifications contribute towards his/her mental health. For example, it takes a certain extent of social and geographic background in order to discover the term “mental health”. It was because of the gift of social media that everybody came to know about it, but what about the people who are devoid of social media. This phenomenon also raises another question- is social media truly the most reliable space to learn about such a crucial subject? And when come to think about it, more than reliability it is our only resort as most of us don’t have a professional institution or school-based curriculum for it- especially in developing countries like India.

Role of politics and the society

Silhouette vector illustration of a variety of students, children and teenagers going back to school

Talking about developing countries, in these places the facets of politics and society also play an immense role in shaping people’s outlook. For quite some time now, there are sincere efforts being made to normalise talking about mental health in the society without any hesitation or fear, but even then the stigma around it has not quite been eradicated. It is still a work in progress and there is still a long way to go. Therefore, people living in such environments need more freedom to talk about these delicate topics freely without having to be looked down upon or deemed as “weak”. But if society can make things look bad certainly with concerted efforts it can overturn stereotypes as well. A society that would attempt to understand the concept of mental health can simulate a much more encouraging and inclusive environment for the people who struggle with it.

Availability and affordability of resources

Now, if we are successful in removing the stigma around mental health, the next most essential step would be to make available resources for people to seek help from, like counselling and therapy. The main hiccups here would be accessibility and affordability. Many people know that therapy and counselling has a reputation of being too costly. As a result, a lot of people who even wish to work on themselves and seek professional help cannot without burning a hole in their pockets. Hence, financial restraints also prevent people from finding help.

Promises for the future

In conclusion, the mental health of a person is indeed affected by a culmination of a lot of things. For a person to successfully navigate through all of it needs a welcoming and capable environment, the correct knowledge, professionally trained people as guides and lastly sufficient monetary resources. To check all of these boxes would be a tough task to achieve but not impossible. So, this Mental Health Day, let us strive for a more equal world. A world where people are more vocal about their feelings and have affordable and professional places and people to go to for understanding and navigating through their feelings. Let us not be deterred by the upward battle and continue to take one step forward at a time because good things do take time and I promise that in the end, it will all be worth it.

Written by: Mariya


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