Mind Matters : Mental Health as a Political Priority

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The COVID-19 pandemic has hit millions around the world with unemployment most affecting the lower-income earning marginalized communities.  The economic crunch has perpetuated its effects on the daily life of an average citizen more so with the hovering danger of contracting coronavirus. Vaccination process has brought out some hopes in the bleak situation. Yet the repercussions of 2020 has been and for the coming years will be felt in myriad ways by different people.

One question that raised throughout the pandemic was for the lower-income, marginalized communities and manual labour dependent classes who did not even get proper transportation services to return to their native place. For such people, survival is a priority. But the question remains can this mentality be challenged and enriched by addressing the root cause of the problem.

The bare necessities of life when unmet can cause turmoil in the emotional and physical functioning of well-being. The basic right to food, clothes, shelter and now the internet with a dignified life is what is required. This was heavily compromised for thousands in India despite the government spending on the healthcare facility.

Poverty itself forms an unregulated and vicious flow of helplessness and frustration which turns into unmitigated forms of abuse, criminal indulgences or mere dread of living leading to high rates of suicide.

Although this year has seen the rapid emergence of mental health into public discourse, there is a lot more that needs to be done. Unfortunately, partly due to ignorance and primarily due to apathy, we remain grossly unprepared to tackle the fallout of a mental health crisis. From a shortage of mental health professionals and gaps in training to a society still riddled with stigma, the challenge is vast.

Awareness remains focused on urban areas and, more specifically, to the digitally empowered, and while that can be considered progress, it is certainly not enough. Mental health has significant implications for the human race, just like climate change, security, and sustainability, and therefore it needs to be treated with the same importance.

 

 

CAUSES:

Personal is Political

‘Political Depression’ is a term being increasingly used to define the phenomena of the uncharted and intense feelings of helplessness, grief and anxiety in people which occurs due to distressing social and political events around them. Political Depression has mostly been observed amongst Millenials who are in the process of forming their own political understandings and in some cases, loyalties.

Politics shapes our identity especially when the individual is at the direct receiving end of any significant policy. The social and political unrest since 2019 has been permeating constant insecurity amongst the masses. The pandemic has proliferated the effects and it has been negatively impacting the mental health especially of the younger generation. There is a need for moderation in terms of consuming such data, it often leads to exhaustion and severe anxiety issues.

Individuals belonging to marginalised communities, like religious minorities, people belonging to lower castes, the LGBTQIA+ community amongst others often battle mental illnesses along with having to deal with lesser representation and not enough acceptance. 

Compromised Education

While the mode of learning has gone online many still cannot afford a viable internet connection in order to continue their lessons. With familial disruptions, discords it’s difficult to focus over the idea of giving an exam. Learning and in turn results of the students are compromised. It can lead to low self-esteem and a sense of purposelessness amongst curious learners.

Economic Instability

Unemployment and excessive work from home pressures have fiddled with the minds of young people the most. The financial crunch and extra vulnerability of old people have risen. People who have just started a family have a hard time with the infants, postpartum depression is pertinent amongst young mothers. Loss of jobs has led to frustration and in many cases, the incidents of domestic violence have increased amongst women and children. Too much time is a great time for overthinkers to indulge in self depreciative thoughts.

 

What can one do to address such issues?

While pursuing anything in life, our psyche has been conditioned to thrive in the competitive market system wherein overburdening ourselves with work, pressure and expectations have emptied our desires. There is something fundamentally wrong with such a thinking pattern. It needs to be rectified and modified.

A need for holistic changes is required in the academia where Resilience Building Techniques should be incorporated in every sector of occupation in order to give directions to people during extremely distressful situations. The shock of the moment should be absorbed effectively to optimise stress levels and calm the anxious minds. Better and stringent higher allocation towards budget spending on mental health especially to the marginalized communities is the need of an hour. The political priority of mental health wherein the expression of individuals should be visualized in terms of effective policy building measures. Above all, the constant struggles of everyday life have been well managed by the Community Network and in times of quarantines, lockdowns and isolation it has proven to be worthy of being worked upon more.

 

References

(2020, July). Retrieved from www.news18.com.

Padukone Anisha, Forbes India Lessons from 2020: Making mental health a priority in India.

Rooney Katharine, This is why mental health should be a political priority. Article part of The Davos Agenda, World Economic Forum.

 

Author:- Bhagya Babu

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