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India and Mental Health

Mental Health May Be Defined As State Of Complete Wellness Which Includes Emotional Psychological Social Wellbeing It May Affect The Way a Person talks, behaves, thinks, feels, or acts. Thus, mental health is an important aspect of every individual's well-being. Being healthy mentally improves effectiveness and fruitfulness in different aspects of life like work, school, or caregiving. It helps maintain healthy relationships and keep a better social connections. However, it is still one of the most uncomfortable topics for people to talk about or open up about their mental problems, mostly because society just assumes that someone with mental health issues is not fit for any responsible role. Not just that, even in personal life, talking about mental health issues threatens the survival of relationships in many cases. Hence discussion on mental health and education about its importance is very essential.  

This paper presents the state of mental health within the population of India. In India, mental health is assured to every citizen as a right by the law of the country. In a study conducted in 2017, the legislation for mental health in India complies with 68% of the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) for mental health (Duffy and Kelly 2020). However, India still has a very low level of expertise or even resources compared to the country's vast population. Also, there is a significantly low amount of funds spent on mental health services from the National healthcare budget. This raises the question that how much importance is actually given to mental health in India. Hence, through this paper, the significance of mental health in India will be understood and how the mental health condition in the country affects its population in the different fields of life like education, relationships, environment, among others.

As already stated, mental health is a very important concern worldwide, especially during these times. However, it does not get as much importance as it should. The mental health conditions in India concerning eight essential aspects of life are discussed below.

 Stress can be defined as any emotional or mental strain that arises from the situations that intimidate our regular life. It is one of the most common mental health problems faced by individuals of all age groups due to various reasons. In the present time, as the world is combating a pandemic, stress is very common in almost all members of a population at some point in time. India, like many other countries, imposed a nationwide lockdown. It caused enormous emotional breakdowns as people were worried about their lives and careers. In the studies conducted by Lakhan, Agrawal, and Sharma (2020), the percentage of stress was found to have increased by 11.6% during the initial phases of the pandemic. However, the level of stress was different in different sections of society. There was a rise of about 20% in the cases of mental health issues after the pandemic began (Verma and Mishra 2020). The healthcare workers and students faced the most amount of stress. Stress levels have negatively impacted the overall lifestyle of these individuals. Like India stress is also a common mental health problem in Australia and even there seeking help from a professional is extremely rare.

Stress

Exercise has been recommended for physical health for a long time, but its impact on mental health has recently been studied. Physical activity has shown positive results in mental health development. Incorporating any form of physical activity like swimming, cycling, or exercise can help an individual overcome negative feelings. Practicing yoga has shown a positive outcome in reducing severe as well as mild mental health problems (Cherubal et al. 2019). Yoga greatly helped to reduce anxiety and depression in suffering individuals who followed it regularly. Yoga is inexpensive and thus, is greatly promoted for the improvement of mental health. Yoga-based methods also help to improve memory and attention among individuals (Chobe et al. 2020). According to Cherubal et al. (2019), in a study, it was found that Suryanamaskar, a type of Yoga, showed effectiveness in reducing sleepiness and stress. Yoga creates a calmness of body and mind of an individual, which helps in decreasing levels of anxiety and depression. Yoga promotes stress management along with mental health and healthy eating. Even though India is considered the source of Yoga's foundation, the percentage of Indians who practice Yoga is quite less. According to Mishra et al. (2020), in a survey conducted on a sample from throughout India, the percentage of Indians who practice regular Yoga is 11.8% which is relatively low. Thus, people who were more involved in physical activities like various exercises and Yoga are better at handling mental health disorders. In comparison, the Australian population is very keen on exercise and about four-fifth of the population participates in active physical exercise regularly.

The health of an individual and the food they consume are very much interlinked. The consumption of healthy food leads to a healthier life, whereas a stressful life often leads to mindless eating habits, which may cause eating disorders in individuals. A balanced diet not only keeps us physically healthy but also improves our mental health condition by increasing attention among individuals. Also, unhealthy food consumption may lead to tiredness, slower and poorer decision making.

 India as a whole is a population that loves its food. The variation in food throughout India is immense. However, the explosion in junk food consumption has increased manifold in India. This decreased the quality of food consumed by adolescents and children who are more prone to consumption of such food, which will eventually lead to overweight and obesity (Gupta, Kapil and Singh 2018). Such conditions will eventually increase the levels of anxiety and stress as adolescents are more conscious of their body images. All these negatively impact the self-esteem of the growing individuals. Consequently, the individuals would skip a meal or follow other unhealthy behavior that will impact their mental health even more (Bhavani and Prabhavathy Devi 2020).  Thus, the emphasis on having a balanced diet to have a balanced life is very important, especially in growing children and adults (Lim 2018). Consumption of healthier meals will help an individual to have better focus and less fatigue to deal with various situations.  Nutrition in food consumption of Australians is also lacking. They have several diseases that occur due to an imbalance in the diet.

Exercise

Education in India is very competitive in nature. This creates extra pressure on students, which can negatively impact the students' mental health. Also, the students who leave their houses to study feel additional mental pressures because of a lack of healthy conversations. Moreover, the Constitution of India secures certain positions for children from oppressed castes which creates lesser opportunities for other children (Gupta 2020). The Constitution created this to secure the place of those children. However, it can negatively impact the minds of both sections of society. The students who receive the reserved seats are often teased and insulted while the students who lack to attain the seat often feel dejected. These factors may increase suicide rates. India has a high rate of suicide for both genders (Swain et al. 2021). This causes mental stress and added competition for the limited number of seats available to enter prestigious institutions in India. The amount of money spent on a child’s education in India is also very high. The pandemic had even worsened the education system. As a nationwide lockdown was imposed, students shifted to online education systems. This created mental pressure on economically weaker students as arranging devices for attending those classes was not feasible. The rural population of India suffered greatly due to these changes as cellular network and other technical issues in those areas was additional problem (Muthuprasad et al. 2021). Lack of proper internet access is probably one of the most crucial factors that badly impacted the mental health of students because of the feeling of lagging behind other students. This also created pressure on the teaching faculty as teachers had to learn new technologies to provide their services to the students (Gurung 2021). The teachers also had an additional responsibility of being able to reach students who came from areas having technical issues and motivate them during these situations, which in turn created negative impacts on their lives when they failed to achieve these goals (Gurung 2021). Thus, the association between education and mental health has been negatively impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Education in Australia is among the finest education courses because of being based on comprehension and skill development. However, Covid-19 impacted the education of Australia as well but their system did not suffer to the extent the Indian system suffered.

Society plays a vital role in the development and growth of an individual. Support from society is an essential factor in normalizing mental health problems among suffering individuals (Kohrt et al. 2018). When society at large can accept the individual suffering from mental health, the individual is more acceptable to themselves. This boosts their mental health as they gain confidence and strength to focus on their lives. On the other hand, if society differentiates among individuals on the bias of their mental health condition they tend to suffer more.

Nutrition

The Indian society is a kind and benevolent society. However, until recently the people who shared their mental health conditions were looked down upon and labeled as weak or impotent (Reddy 2019). Also, people in India are discriminated against based on their caste, status, gender, and sexual preferences (Kashyap 2021). These discriminations in turn can impact the mental health of an individual if they are subjected to them for a long time. However, with passing time people have become more empathetic towards sharing and understanding other people (Jakovljevic 2018). People are now more accepting of those individuals who are going through mental disorders. The Australian society is very friendly and helpful much like India but dealing with mental health was a problem even in Australia. However, as time is progressing, handling and dealing with mental health has become more acceptable.

Relationships are an important part of the lives of all individuals. It can produce both positive and negative impacts on a person's life. It has been observed that individuals living alone have often been more prone to mental health issues than those who reside with their families because meaningful communication is a crucial factor in mental health care. Living alone can get stressed due to many reasons. Growing children and young adults need support and trust from parents and friends to develop positive emotional, mental, and social developments which makes them capable of forming stronger and stable relationships in the future (Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz 2020). Thus, having an understanding relationship is extremely important for good mental health balance in individuals. Two people who can trust and share their problems with each other can produce positive outcomes in their lives. When the relationship between closely related people is strained they produce stress and can also lead to depression. Thus, having healthy relationships is extremely important for the overall well-being of an individual.

 In India, family values are generally very high, which are based on trust and respect. Dependence on family members increases the support of individuals during difficult times. However, the family may have a negative impact on an individual when pressure is created on the individual to attain and achieve certain goals that are different from their personal goals (Kaur 2019). Hence, not all families are happy families, and educating everyone regarding these issues is necessary. In Australia, individuals are taught the importance of independence from an early age and hence it is quite natural to expect that adolescents will move out of their homes once they start college or university. This is a good way of teaching independence but on the other hand, young adults might sometime not be able to express their problems to anyone.  

Education

The social environment of a person determines their level of happiness and contentment in life. They include cultural and relational aspects of a human. Factors like income and profession can highly impact the mental health of people. Low income usually leads to unsatisfactory feelings as the individual is unable to afford facilities required for healthy living like nutrient-rich food items (Alegría 2018). On the other hand, people who have jobs that require longer time devotion usually lack time for self-care and family. Both these scenarios impact mental health negatively. Other factors are physical, which include smoking and drinking also affect the well-being of an individual.

Other than the social environment, air pollutants also have been linked to causing mental health problems. Air pollutants increase four negative impacts on humans which include nervousness, depression, powerlessness, and restlessness (Gu et al. 2020). Thus, reducing negative mental health impacts may reduce suicide rates. Australia provides a better social environment such that the co-operation at workplaces and schools and the university is better. However, physical factors affect mental health in Australia as well creating stress and depression in individuals.

Spiritual belief may be explained as the connection between a superior power and an individual, which helps to relate to the existential perspective based on life and death. In eastern cultures, spirituality has been related to the well-being of an individual for a long time. India is a country that has a majority of Hindus (Sharma 2020). Spiritual communities can help develop the social skills of people by providing them opportunities to interact at gatherings organized by the communities. This support and interaction may introduce positive health like reduction in stress levels and anxiety. Spirituality may also impact the lifestyle of an individual, making them adopt a healthier way of living and reducing unhealthy habits like drinking and using drugs. Spiritual coping mechanisms like meditation and prayers also provide relief and ways to overcome negative impacts on life (Wagani and Colucci 2018). Both prayer and meditation help a person to develop a deeper sense of peace.

Meditation, in particular, helps an individual to accept their situations and fight through them, giving them strength as well as peace. Individuals have usually felt more satisfied with their lives when they follow a spiritual life as spirituality increases self-awareness, knowledge about themselves, peace, and happiness (Deb et al. 2020). Participants of the studies conducted by Wagani and Colucci (2018) explained that spirituality developed positive feelings within their lives like hope, trust, inspiration, and determination. Thus, spirituality helps individuals to cope with negative thoughts. In the studies of Pant and Srivastava (2019) conducted among college students of Haridwar, Uttarakhand, the results of Pearson correlation prove that the association of spiritual intelligence, as well as factors related to it like inner peace and self-awareness with happiness, have a positive and meaningful outcome. Australia is a country that has a majority of Christians but spirituality is related to but not exactly a religion. Hence, the practice of prayers and meditation and attending social events at spiritual places increase peace of mind and body.

The implication of mental health in present times when the world is suffering from a pandemic is immensely frightening. The healthcare system has suffered the most worldwide because of the pressure created due to these situations. Healthcare professionals feel the weight of their professional duty, and in fulfilling those start lacking personal care like insufficient rest, lack of recovery time, and practicing without protective gear due to shortages (Jun, Tucker and Melnyk 2020). The Covid-19 pandemic also introduced fear among the general public of not just infection with the virus but also about jobs and stability in life. People suffered more mental health problems since the onset of the pandemic as distancing impacted their social lives of people. According to Jun, Tucker and Melnyk (2020), this even increased the suicide rates among individuals all over the world. The need to prevent such events is an essential aspect of dealing with mental health conditions worldwide.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that mental health is an important part of every individual's life and therefore should be considered seriously. The inclusion of activities and events that may help individuals to come out and discuss their mental health issues within families or even communities should be given more importance. In the ongoing pandemic situation, the concern for mental health has become even more important. People have lived the last two years in fear and anxiety of the virus along with a lack of social interaction and meaningful social association. This report shows the impact of mental health implications in related areas of life and the well-being of an individual and discusses the various consequences these have created on the lives of the people of India. From the lives of Indian people, it can also be concluded that the impact of the pandemic and subsequent mental health imbalance is a worldwide issue that needs serious focus to help people lead a normal and healthy life by promoting not just physical but also mental health.

The above discussions stress the lack of mental peace and happiness in certain areas of the life of an individual in India. Thus, the quality of mental health can be improved among individuals worldwide by following certain suggestions:

  • Incorporating a balanced diet that contains a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other vital nutrients.
  • Including any form of physical activity, like cycling or Yoga would imbibe positive thoughts in the minds of people.
  • To help the students have efficient education without interruption, data services should be provided to all the students worldwide at a cost that would be feasible for all.
  • Events should be organized at regular intervals within the communities to improve the quality of social interaction among the members.
  • Positivity among family members should be increased by educating the elders to accept and acknowledge the children of the family and provide them safe environment so that the younger individuals can deal with their problems and not feel alone during those times.
  • Spiritual connection is a good way of analyzing self-behavior and actions and that promotes mental stability and a gradual increase in positive thinking.

References

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Bhavani, V. and Prabhavathy Devi, N., 2020. Junk and Sink: A Comparative Study on Junk Food Intake among Students of India'. Shanlax International Journal of Arts, Science and Humanities, pp.13-18.

Cherubal, A.G., Suhavana, B., Padmavati, R. and Raghavan, V., 2019. Physical activity and mental health in India: a narrative review. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 65(7-8), pp.656-667.

Chobe, S., Chobe, M., Metri, K., Patra, S.K. and Nagaratna, R., 2020. Impact of Yoga on cognition and mental health among elderly: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 52, p.102421.

Deb, S., Thomas, S., Bose, A. and Aswathi, T., 2020. Happiness, meaning, and satisfaction in life as perceived by Indian university students and their association with spirituality. Journal of religion and health, 59(5), pp.2469-2485.

Duffy, R.M. and Kelly, B.D., 2020. Background to Mental Health Law. In India’s Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (pp. 3-20). Springer, Singapore.

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Gupta, A., 2020. A Critical Analysis of Protective Discrimination under Indian Constitution. Supremo Amicus, 20, p.1.

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