Talk about mental health, spread positivity and instill hopes

Ajita Rijal

Migrant worker Uddav Khanal, 39, returned to Nepal from Korea after experiencing mental health issues. Like many other people in Nepal who tend to hide their mental health issues, he too initially hid his problem with family and friends. “I acted being normal with my friends and family, but deep inside me, I was hurting myself,” said Khanal.
“I started behaving differently and after knowing my condition my father took me to a psychiatric. Following the doctor’s counseling, I tried more to recover myself from the illness,” shared Khanal.
Rekha Khatiwada, 42, said that she went through postnatal mental disorder at the age of 26 while having her first child. “On the third night after my delivery, I started suffering from a severe headache. I was unconscious for 29 days. I was later told that doctors had reportedly said that the chance for my survival was very slim”, she shared.
“At one point I could not even recognise my baby. I experienced depression and avoided talking with anybody; my family panicked, and had no idea what to do with my situation,” she said.dipreson
“One of my relatives recommended visiting a psychiatrist. I was later diagnosed with depression and given medications, she said. After a month and half, I slowly started feeling better and regaining my senses. I then slowly recovered” she added.
Pramil Sapkota, 22, said, “As a young boy, out of shame, I was scared to talk about my problem, knowing how people would react to ‘mental issues’ then, as it would bring shame to my family, and I myself had seen other people facing mental issues being stigmatised and ostracised.” “I started being mentally disturbed after losing hope in continuing my higher level education after failing to sit and compete in various entrance examinations for three years,” he said.
Now thinking retrospectively after getting better, I feel I would not have suffered much, if I then had the opportunity to share my problems and talk to other people, he added.
The aforementioned cases are just the examples, as according to the reports more than one third of the disorders are related to mental health. There are various spectrums of causes for suffering from the mental health that needs to be addressed.
Speaking at an interaction jointly organised by ‘Juggernaut Mindset’ and ‘Mental Health for All’ on May 20 in the capital, mental health experts and psychiatrists delivered their views and ideas reflecting the country’s scenario of mental health related problems.
To spread awareness and address mental health issues, the campaign of Juggernaut Mindset on ‘Mental Wellbeing for All’ has been initiated by mental health rights activist Jagannath Lamichhane.
At the event, Lamichhane advocated for BED (body awareness, exercise and diet) approach to improve both physical and mental well-being.
“There is grave silence in our society surrounding mental wellbeing and emotional issues. Because of negative perception and misunderstanding of mental health issues, people choose to remain silent rather than seeking help. We need to break such taboo and instill positive hopes for life in the people who are struggling with mental health difficulties,” said Lamichhane.
Lamichhane shared that he was advocating for mental health through the use of the social media, including YouTube, Facebook. His campaign ‘Juggernaut Mindset’ is helping people talk and deliver their mental health problems to get relief from the cause.
Lamichhane stressed on the fact that it takes physical, social, emotional and psychological efforts to ensure better mental health.
Speaking on the occasion, reproductive health specialist Dr Kokila Vaidya, emphasised on identifying the early signs of mental health problems and five steps to enhancing mental wellbeing.
“Treatment facilities with needful counseling must be given to the patients. The importance of early diagnosis and treatment should be highly prioritised,” said Dr Vaidya.
Psychiatrist Dr. Kedar Marahatta said mental health problems must be identified in time and the people should seek proper counseling from doctors. Although some cases can be solved through regular counseling, severe cases may need medication, said Dr. Marahatta.
According to Dr. Marahatta, economic hardships, unemployment, personal and family issues, sudden suffering or accidents or natural disasters could cause mental health problem.
Signs and symptoms of mental health include feeling sad or down, behavioural changes, insomnia (unable to sleep), extreme fatigue, fears, anxiety, worries and suicidal thoughts among others, according to Dr. Marahatta.
Dr. Marahatta suggested people and families to talk openly about mental health issues and listen to anyone in the family or friends circle, who may be possibly going through hard times in life or silently dealing with problems, to help them combat any kind of depression, which is considered one of the leading causes of suicide.
According to the experts, the government needs to increase investment for addressing mental health issues in each State and recognise excessive alcohol consumption and substance abuse as the major causes of mental health problems.

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