Why We Need To Start Talking About Mental Health:​ Arunima Gururani

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This October, we’re looking at mental health a little more seriously – after all, it’s mental health awareness month. But imagine how much happier we’d be if we took out a little time every day to check our mental health? We’d be at peace and would definitely be a little happier.

There is a lot of stigmas attached to the idea of struggling with mental health. It’s so much easier to say that I have a fever or an upset stomach to get a day off from work. But apparently, saying that my mental health isn’t in the best shape just feels like a silly excuse. And it’s not just companies that see it this way. It’s also us. It’s not always about the stigma we get from outside, but also the stigma that we foster within.

I’m a psychosocial worker. This means that I work in community mental health and talk to people about what their mental health needs are. I do this through workshops that look at mental health and gender, and the connection between them. But this article isn’t about that. This is about what it’s like to be in that place.

If I am completely transparent, it is overwhelming. Maybe it’s because I’m just starting out. However, the experience of being in a workshop and talking to young people about their stresses is very satisfying, yet there is still some stress that we, as people who work in mental health carry.

These sessions are often very intense both for me and for the participants. But what this process of constant engagement with people has shown me is that we’re really going through a mental health crisis and not paying enough attention to it.

From the way we conceal our emotions to the way we are unable to communicate them leads to a lot of stress. Add the way people try to fit each other into stereotypical gender roles to this, and it’s a perfect recipe for mental health ignorance.

The most ignored section of the population here is adolescents and young people. In fact, one should be paying most attention to this section. Adolescents go through so many changes physically and emotionally during this phase and often don’t have enough people to talk to. There is a lack of conversation around mental health and the pressures these people go through. Among other young people, society has already created a shape and space where it is considered uncool to accept that one may be dealing with mental health issues.

I believe that it is essential to talk about our feelings and emotional needs on a daily basis, even though it feels uncomfortable in the beginning. I’m saying this because the more we start normalizing our emotions, the closer we’ll get to removing the stigma around mental health and well-being. This is definitely the first step and there is more to go. However, this first step is probably the most important. After all, for how long can we continue being prisoners of our own minds?

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