‘We need to have a better conversation about mental illnesses
The need to promote awareness of mental health at the grassroots, particularly in the interior rural areas and sensitizing youth about it was stressed during a workshop on the occasion of ‘World Mental Health Day’, on Thursday.
The workshop was organized by Yakjah Reconciliation and Development Network, a non-profit youth led organization in both Jammu and Kashmir regions observed the day by organizing interactive and open conversation with young people. On the occasion of World Mental Health Day which is celebrated every year on October 10, for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, Yakjah Reconciliation and Development Network, a non-profit youth led organization in both Jammu and Kashmir regions observed the day by organizing interactive and open conversation with young people.
World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness programto bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples' life worldwide. This year’s theme is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”
Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.
As Yakjah’s continuing effort towards the vision and mission of its Mental Health and Well Being Program to spread awareness about mental health dynamics in Jammu and Kashmir a focused group discussion on “Expressions of the Self: Mental Health out of the Closet was organized in Bijbehara. The discussion focused on why it is important to bring mental health out of the closet and create spaces for open conversations. The participants felt it was crucial to share and listen for healing to happen. It was discussed personal determination, will and self- awareness are potent tools for overcoming anxiety and depression. Ashima Kaul, Founder of Yakjah said that mental health and well-being needs to be understood as a broader concept of inner balance between body, mind and spirit. She emphasized the need to bring a paradigm shift in the way we perceive mental health. The discussion included the need to bring mental health out of the closet and how people can be educated to access mental health care services. The open conversation between the participants brought forth the need for the youth to connect to their inner self and not fall victim to external dependents like drugs.