Mental health is the absence of any mental disorder that describes a state of well-being in the aspects of cognition, that is, thought processes, our emotions, that is how we feel and lastly, our behavior. The American Psychological Association (2020) defines mental health as a state of mind characterized by emotional well-being, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.

The World Health Organization (2015) reported that approximately 7.5 per cent of the Indian population suffers from some typology of mental disorders . This statistic contributes to about 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance abuse disorder burden. The treatment gap , defined as the prevalence of mental illnesses and the proportion of patients that get treatment, is over 70 per cent, which is detrimentally low and quite alarming. The suicide rate in India was at 15.7/100,000 in 2015, higher especially among people aged between 15-29 years old, which is the leading cause of death among this population. A study conducted in 2016 by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) revealed that about 150 million Indians needed active intervention while lesser than 30 million were receiving it. What causes such an enormous disparity?

The prime cause of not getting help when needed is due to the attitudes held by most people. Although we have overcome the de-stigmatization of mental health disorders, we still have a long way to go before normalizing them. You can seek help literally “Anytime!” You don’t need any particular reason to see a mental health professional. You do not need to suffer from complicated mental disorders to see a mental health professional. Circumstances as trivial as bickering among family members, or a rude work colleague that stresses you out, can be addressed by mental health practitioners. Society would probably say otherwise, but it is the trivial matters that we ignore that later cause serious problems.

Society often hinders the growth of a person by telling us the things we should not do. We, being an integral part of a collectivist culture, fail to reason and fight the irrational arguments presented by society. In our society, expressions such as “Boys don’t cry” or “Women should not talk” are ingrained in our minds. We carry negative narratives as such until we get educated and realize that such notions are false. It is similar in the case of mental health. We need to talk, and we do not need a calamity for it. We can choose to go to a professional for guidance as well as treatment.

Life is nothing without challenges like it is nothing without happiness, and sometimes these problems can burden us. You can visit a mental health professional for enhancing your performance, mental clarity, reducing stress, comprehending and managing anger, so forth. Emotions and thoughts, dismissed as we get indoctrinated those feelings are insignificant.

We fail to understand that our mind is intricate. If your mind can solve problems, it can also create them. People say, “A mind is a beautiful place, and all the answers are right there…” which is barely arguable because they are right! Yet, if we did not have teachers to guide us in classes when we failed to solve a perplexing sum, would we make it? The answer is improbable because we cannot imagine a world without teachers. Likewise, we need someone to guide us through rough and emotional times. That is where a mental health practitioner comes into the picture.

There are many times when we feel anxious about taking the next big step. We experience grief when we lose someone we love. When we have to endure heartbreaks and are unable to move on or when our relationships become unruly. These problems are common and come unprecedented. Seek help from professionals if- any negative emotion persists for more than a week. You find yourself going back to negative emotions, giving an hour to such thoughts each day. These thoughts impair your daily functioning, thereby causing troubles in your relationships or work, “seek help.” Stop waiting for the right time. There is no such thing as the “right time.” If you suffer physically, you seek help immediately, so why wait when you feel emotionally troubled? Support is available everywhere, but all you need to do is reach out. We live with ourselves more than anyone else in our entire lifetime issues are bound to surface. We all know precisely when we feel burdened, and choosing to get help at that time can promote growth and resilience.

Mental health professionals and empathetic, non-judgmental, confidential, active listeners, and guides; who will help you find the best within you and enhance the good. It may take time, but therapy is a way towards self-love, acceptance, and growing self-esteem. It is gratifying to be heard and understood without any question and doubt. Without being worried that someone may know our worst selves and still accept us with absolute positive regard can work wonders.

Shattering the mirrors of society and taking the first step is always difficult but once you make that decision, walking on that path becomes easy. It may require consideration and support but remember that it is okay to ask for help, and sometimes we must do what is good for us and not what seems good to the world. If you don’t ask for help, you will get none, and in that time while you wait, damage may already be done. Sometimes, we need someone to break our shells and set us free. Therefore, if you think that you need help at any point in your life, seek it without hesitation and seek help from mental health practitioners “Anytime.”

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