Mental Health Awareness - Need of the hour!

"According to WHO, by the end of 2020 Depression will be the second greatest disability in the world..the first one being blindness."

"Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems."

"9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination."

Mental health has always been the poor cousin compared to Physical health. It gets treated just like that giant elephant in the living room that no one wants to talk about. Gradually, we are witnessing a change in the society with more and more people coming up and talking about their mental health issues and lot of focus on this topic through ad campaigns, Ted talks etc.

For anyone who has witnessed these problems, coming ahead and sharing their experience is a BIG thing which many people fail to understand. But despite all the efforts being taken by NGOs, health agencies and individuals including celebrities there is still so much ignorance and lack of knowledge about this very important aspect of our health that it literally numbs me.

Last month, we were sitting at a friend's place and got to know that a young chap from the same building committed suicide by jumping from his balcony couple of days ago. Reason- he had lost his job 2 months ago and was depressed. While I shuddered with the shock and grief, what broke my heart was the fact that few people in that room were laughing and making fun of that guy. They were wondering how could someone commit suicide just because of a SMALL (in their words) thing like job loss.

At that moment, it hit me that there is still a long way to go in terms of spreading awareness about mental health and encouraging people to KNOW about it. I felt those words were so insulting to that poor guy who must have suffered so much to reach to a decision to end his life. He can be termed as a coward very easily by few people but who knows how hard he must have tried to fight off the dark thoughts. He could have been saved if he would have found someone to share his feelings with, without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. He could have been saved if someone would have touched his hand and said "I understand" or "you can talk to me". He could have been saved if he had turned to Self help or tons of Mental health helplines. But again, all this would have happened only if there was awareness!

I am neither a health professional nor an expert on this topic but all I have is a passion towards health and that includes mental well being. All I wish is that more and more people take out some time to read about mental health and look around. Who knows they might find someone fighting his/ her demons silently! And I wish people also educate themselves for their own selves. To know when and where to seek help if God forbid they ever find themselves in this situation.

Life is too short so live and love it!