What does the term “mental” refer to? It refers to “mental illness”. A person going through a phase of being mentally ill is definitely not a “psycho”, or someone that should be dismissed as being “mental”.

We visit a Doctor any time that we go through a physical illness like a cold, cough, fever, diabetes etc. Yet when we go through mental illness, many don’t expect to go and see a doctor.

Instead of mental illness being accepted, a stigma still exists. People can tease or pass negative comments to someone struggling with mental illness, rather than motivating or encouraging them for their recovery.

Life is full of ups and downs

Why do we treat a person’s mental illness differently to physical illness?

When a person is in need of our support and help, unfortunately – so many people that had previously been around then choose to stay away, as if the person is damaged goods.

Society needs to understand that passing those negative comments on and behaving differently towards the person can lead to a life-changing phase for the individual suffering.

When a mentally ill person is doing everything they can to overcome a huge obstacle, any negativity that they face could break their efforts.

Sadly, there is always potentially that moment where the mentally ill person decides that they cannot overcome their mental illness, and instead accept it. But recovery is always possible.

What might the reasons be?

There are few people that actually make an active effort to support those going through mental illness. But why is it only a few people? Why doesn’t everyone do this?

If there was more of an effort from everyone to help those that are mentally ill, it would be easier for all of those who are struggling with ill mental health to overcome their problems.

We need to appreciate all of the difficult things that some people will have gone through to become mentally ill. Traumas, deaths, stressful life situations, financial problems, unemployment, loneliness, personality traits e.g., low self-esteem – there are so many potential causes.

So when a person goes through any of these experiences, they need support from family and friends. They need to be encouraged to open up, and not keep things bottled up.

It is difficult to admit to yourself that you aren’t well and that you need help. Mental illness doesn’t get better on its own, it can lead to a destroyed life. Therefore, it is important to make that first step and visit a doctor for help.

How can we help?

An important thing to consider is just how can we support those who need help. First of all, it is important to treat a person normally – mental illness doesn’t define them.

  • Take care of and love the person as much as you can, as love can be the best medicine there is.
  • Help the person to do activities and hobbies they enjoy – this is a great way of distracting the person from their problems.
  • Get the person to listen to their favourite songs – music can be very powerful.
  • Communicate with them regularly, keep them involved in social events and protect against loneliness.
  • Consult a Doctor, or try to get the person to go and see a doctor – this can be the first step towards recovery.
  • Try and get them to engage in things like yoga and dance – these activities can benefit health and mental wellbeing, and spread happiness and positivity.

The Takeaway

An ongoing mantra we should all have – as we started the article with – mental health should be treated in the same way that physical health is. Anyone going through mental health problems is not a “psycho” or “mental”.

Mental illness can be overcome, though positivity, motivation and love from others are all crucial. The methods mentioned above can help to treat mental illness, and work towards an improvement in mental wellbeing.

Start with a five minute conversation – this can be the catalyst and turning point for the road to recovery to begin – mental illness can be overcome.

By Shiksha Jalan