Well… all is not well until it is so up here. (pointing to head) Mental health is as significant as physical health. We need to take care of our minds as much as our bodies, and society also need to create a healthy environment for its people. Mental health and suicide are interconnected issues that require proactive agendas and programmes from the government as well as sensitive handling at individual levels. Families, schools, colleges, offices and various social institutions need to dedicate some time towards discussions on issues related to psychological needs of people. If Yoga can be a subject in schools why not a general understanding of mental health? In fact, a collective effort is the only hope towards the creation of a safe and secure environment for everyone, especially today’s youth.
From the olden times we have received some popular proverbs that connect the body and mind so appropriately; Such as “Swasth Tan Me hi Swasth Man” which literally means that only in a healthy body a healthy mind resides. Ayurveda, the ancient science of well being from India says Mind and Body are the two ends of the same thing.. Patanjali’s system of Yoga at its core gives value to mind management rather than the body. The compound understanding is echoed in the definition of health given by World Health Organization when it says “Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which disease and infirmity are absent.” Despite all this great knowledge about inter-connectedness of mind and body being available with the experts, the commoners and even the most educated people consider health only to be related to the physical body. This notion needs to change. But how?
Families are the basic building block of society. Parents are said to be the first teachers for children. The forming years of a child are spent under the influence of the caregivers i.e. the parents and other close family members. You must be surprised that almost none of the parents are educated and informed about the correct parenting regime. I need not give any example here each one of us are the walking talking testimony of the state of affairs. Most will argue that the parenting thing becomes more critical issue in the light of new discoveries in the pedagogy but the truth is – our ancient books have elaborate guidelines about the same. Now, child education experts say that 90% of child’s brain development is completed by the 6 years of her age. Experts on pedagogy also tell that the basic personality traits, such as discipline, obedience, resilience, ability to share things with others, handling failures, temperamental tonality etc. are established in the child’s mind in these forming years. It is the framework or foundation on which all future development of the child depends. A child who has a healthy childhood environment is most likely to stay positive and mentally sound throughout her life but how ready most of the parents are when they wish bring new life in this domain? Would be parents must not take parenting lightly. Who will make sure it happens?
To create healthy mental foundation of young children, it becomes imperative for the authorities in power, governments, medical caregivers and educators to recognize the need for effective ‘training progammes for the new parents’ that help them in ensuring sound mental development of their children. It is said “Well begun is half done.” But.. lets keep in mind even with the informed parenting it is still only half done! So what next? Well.. I had a T-shirt on which it was written “Google doesn’t have all the answers.. Come to me!” (smiles)
Why correct parenting is not sufficient because life presents these grown up individuals weirdest of situations. Not all the problems and questions can be incorporated in any text book and one is sure to fail some or the other time in field test. How do they handle the life out there is important. Suicides have become common among students. Schools, colleges, offices are the places where a youth is subjected to various life challenges and may go through the periods of highs and lows, success and failures. In this age of competition – Survival of the fittest applies in most of the domains. With reduced number of opportunities and large number of aspirants there is more probability to face a set-back, loss or a failure. Also it is natural to feel low and disheartened in case this happens. However, these are the critical times when one needs support, motivation and guidance. This is the time when correct intervention can save a precious life. If people are taught to take success as well as failures in their strides nothing can shake their faith in their abilities, future and hopes. The sad part of this story is – virtually at all these places of study and work, people are suffering but no one seems to be talking about it. Ego and self-image comes in the way of expressing the grief. Just a question to you.. a typical male. How many times you have cried in a decade? I am sure, Never in public view and hardly ever when alone. Why? Is it normal human behaviour?
As per WHO around 15% is the figure for mental illness among all types of diseases. India has been sometimes recently called “the most depressed country”. The land of Rishis and India which happens to be spiritual Guru of the world is in such a pathetic state. It feels like it is imported condition. You may agree or disagree but it simple means we, as a society and as a country have failed.
Why things deteriorate? Well, there is a big stigma around people suffering from any kind of mental health issues. They are often tagged as ‘lunatics’ by the society. This leads to a vicious cycle of shame, suffering and isolation of the patients. The challenge is huge but there is streak of hope amid all this, for all those who need help only if the organizations, institutions and people in power recognize the severity of the current situation and put appropriate systems in place that discuss, inform, train, promote and support the mental health. Unfortunately so but discussing about mental health continues to be a taboo even in most of the societies across the globe. This must change.. a human life is priceless. Individuals, organizations, self-help groups, organizations and Media can help, Government must have an ongoing National Mental Health programme. We must be able to spread the message across that suicide is no solution for the challenges of life!
Of course through right kind of planning, informed interventions and especially designed programmes that build healthy atmosphere amicable enough for all those people who need help but what role an individual has to play?
Just asking question?? Teach people value of this life and as a Yogi why not consider them giving some yogic methods to keep this nation healthy. Nadi Shodhan or Panch Mahabhuta Shakti Kriya? What will you take to them?
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath