The world is going through its most dynamic phase of transformation, where every activity is happening at a lightning-fast pace. The development of technology and communication has shrunk the vast world to such an extent where one can easily access another in the blink of an eye and the click of a button.
Today despite being largely connected in the era of social media, where individuals are less likely to be sided from the mainstream and have a huge scope for socialising, the world at large suffers from a wave of mental illnesses in the form of anxiety, isolation, over thinking, insomnia and depression to name a few.
Social Media Vs. Mental Health
In the year 2018, Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt published her findings in the Journal of Social and Clinical psychology about the impact of social media on day-to-day life. In this research, 143 students of the University of Pennsylvania were divided into two groups, where one group was allowed to continue regular uses of social media the other was advised to reduce their daily use by 30 mins.
The three-week-long survey, where every individual shared screenshots and records of their daily uses to the researchers concluded that the group which used social media on regular basis was more prone towards depression, anxiety and fear of missing out (FOMO) than the other that used social media in a controlled manner.
WHO’s initiative to promote Mental Health:
This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is observing World Mental Health Day 2022, with the theme of “Make mental health and well-being a global priority”.
As per WHO reports, before the global Covid crisis one in every eight people around the globe was affected by some sort of mental disorder. The pandemic has further fuelled the rate of depression and other forms of mental illness by a staggering 25% by inducing short and long-term stresses.
The WHO has called people, institutions, and governments around the globe to come forward and work together on eradicating the evils of mental illness by ensuring the restoration of human values, health care and social connectivity.
Apart from the atmosphere created by social media platforms, and the ongoing Covid 19 crisis, there are many other aspects of mental health which are widely ignored and seldom brought to the public notice.
Factors affecting mental health, and its symptoms:
According to Dr Sujata Sahoo, Senior Resident, Dept. of Psychiatry, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, “The roots of mental illness can be divided into three primary categories which are determined by the Bio-psychosocial model (BPS model), it includes Biological, Social and Psychological factors.”
For example, biological factors are based on physical health, genetic vulnerabilities, and drug effects. Meanwhile, Social factors include peers, family circumstances, and relationships, whereas the psychological aspects cover social skills, coping skills, self-esteem and mental health. As well as the researches state that nearly 18% of suicide cases are a result of repeated attempts. The victims have tried to take their lives earlier.
On being asked about, social stigmas associated with mental health, she added, “Mental illness is just like any other form of illness, if it is treated at the earliest stage an individual can enjoy a prolonged life without any troubles. People should consult a doctor if they experience symptoms such as low mood, chronic depression, cognitive disorder, and a continuous feeling of pessimism.”
Khaki’s take on Mental illness:
As per psychologists, more than 70% of the police force suffer from some sort of mental illnesses, it is because of the nature of their profession which is indeed thankless. The life of a police officer is far more challenging than a civilian. As they work under an incredible workload, with lack of flexibility in terms of working hours, holidays, and poor social and private life which ultimately leads towards a path of stress and chronic depression.
In a telephonic conversation with Amitabh Thakur, IPS, currently serving as IG Operations of Odisha, upon being asked about how he dealt with stress arising due to day-to-day activities, he said “Mental health plays a crucial role in law enforcement, an officer must be mentally as well as physically sound for excising his/her responsibilities conscientiously.”
On being asked about, how he maintains sound mental health he said, “One must practice some sort of hobby for keeping themselves occupied, as well as simultaneously aiding as a stress buster. In my case, I enjoy getting engaged in sports, cooking and gardening occasionally. As well as, practice a regular fitness schedule. And yes, I do enjoy my cup of milk tea and always try to spend my spare time with my family as they are the actual strength and stress busters”
He further adds, “It is the responsibility of the police officers to deal with the public in a generous, and patient manner. Because when someone comes to a police station, they are often in a distressed situation. At that moment, officers must ignore any form of verbal spat and try to address the issue by being empathetic. He says officers are trained regularly through seminars, yoga events and psychological counselling sessions”.
As per a WHO report, one in three individuals suffers from depression in India making it one of the countries, most severely afflicted with mental depredation in the world. Meanwhile, it is estimated that nearly 300 million people suffer from depression caused due to various factors.
The World Federation of Mental Health, the parent organisation which had started “World Mental Health Day” back on October 10, 1992, is consistently trying to spread awareness, campaigns and hold events to educate people about the importance of mental health, and equal treatment of people suffering from any form of mental disorder with the partnership of the World Health Organisation.
WHO’s official website
Penn University's official website
Shri Amitabh Thakur, IPS, IG Special Operations, Odisha Police
Dr Sujata Sahoo, MBBS, MD, DNB, Dept of Psychiatry, SCB Medical College