On this World Mental Health Day, we bring to you mental health experts views on managing stress and improving your mental Wellbeing.
Let’s check out –
Prof MV Padma Srivastava, HoD, Department of Neurology, Neurosciences Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi
“COVID has indeed opened up new learning and discoveries about mental health. The mental health of a person may not be affected only by the social factors, but physical aspects of the virus as well. Since the virus enters through the brain and affects various organs and faculties, mental health also gets affected as an overall reaction. Even recovered patients can have cognitive issues. Lot of research is underway and a policy framework catering to this is the need of the hour. Data and research are the pillars of policy building which would contribute to the mental health research and recovery scenario”.
Dr Prakriti Poddar, Managing Trustee, Poddar Foundation
“In India, youths are the most vulnerable group to get exposed to mental health illnesses. They are facing a huge crisis since their planning for the future is at stake and they are finding it difficult to deal with the uncertainties. Children are getting more impacted owing to social alienation since they don’t have the mental capacity to fathom the crisis situation. Addiction to games and the internet is adding to the woes. While technology and digital innovation is the need of the hour, it is important to draw a fine line in between to maintain balance between necessity and addiction. Poddar Foundation is working strongly towards pursuing policymakers to have a proper Information, Education and Communication (IEC) structure on mental health, but so far the scenario is not very encouraging. There are no takers for mental health insurance policies. India has a shortage of mental health experts. There should be an increased number of government mental health helplines which can be accessed by every citizen. Educating and awareness regarding mental health is imperative to diminish the stigma, which restricts people about speaking out about their condition. Also, mental health is an expensive field and policymakers should take care of this factor. Mental health was a challenge even before the pandemic but the situation has been aggravated. Music can be a healing tool, but make sure that the right kind of music is chosen otherwise there might be a negative impact. Music vibrates the nerves and relaxes, hence it can be a good way of relaxation”.
Dr Kamna Chibber, Head- Mental Health Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare
“There is a dearth of training facilities for the mental health experts or volunteers which must increase. There is a strong deficit of mental health professionals in the country. There is more than 200% and 300% shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists respectively, as per the WHO estimate. We need to reach out to the larger segment of the population, for which requirement of trained professionals is there. Telepsychiatry is the need of the hour. Hence allocating more resources and ensuring quality of mental health service should be improved. The current scenario is a Catch 22 situation. At one hand, we need to stay connected, but on the other hand, physical distance has to be maintained. We need to start opening up to our family members or people close to us. We need to utilise this channel more, which is often ignored. People working from home are doing much more than usual since they are saving the commute time, which in a way is adding to the mental burden. It is important to strike a balance. Following any relaxation activity, be it music or anything else that calms the mind and body helps in striking the balance”.
Dr Akshay Kumar, Consultant Psychologist and HOD Mental Health, Artemis Hospital
“Sleep cycle is hampered if there is mental restlessness. During the pandemic, mental stress is higher than usual. Meditation is an effective way to calm your mind by training it to concentrate on a particular thought or just breathing for 15 minutes before sleeping. Emptying your mind before sleeping can lead to a better sleep cycle in terms of quality and quantity (sleep duration). Dependence on alcohol can also lead to stress instead of freeing one from it. COVID has led to social distance, which has also caused anxiety or stress as one feels the lack of emotional support which physical proximity can bring. Ideally, we should distance ourselves physically as a precaution but should not cease to remain socially connected”.