Musicians, Social Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders encourage everyone to focus on their own wellbeing
Pune, Maharashtra Oct 9, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – On the occasion of World Mental health Day, leading musicians, entrepreneurs, social activists, and business leaders in India gathered to celebrate world mental health day and to encourage everyone to destigmatize mental health and create opportunities for everyone to access mental health support.
The theme of World Mental Health Day 2021 is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. The World Health Organization is calling for countries to ensure that mental health services percolate down to all levels of society. Around the world, discussions, and debates are taking place about how healthcare systems have failed to cater to rural communities, to the urban poor, to certain classes or ethnicities, to women, and to orientation-based minorities.
As part of the World Mental Health Day Celebrations, Manah Wellness organised a virtual panel discussion on October 10 around the issue of inequality in mental healthcare access in India, and solutions for the same. Experts, influencers, and mental health advocates from different fields shared their thoughts on the issue and suggested some solutions.
“Destroy the taboos around mental health issues”
Ankur Tewari – Musician, Director, Actor, Writer
“One of the major causes of inequality in mental healthcare access today is the taboo around mental health conditions and illnesses. People don’t understand that such issues are quite prevalent in society. Rather than acknowledge the problem, they refuse to identify it or address it. Therefore, the first thing we need to do is destroy the taboos around mental health issues.
We must also ensure that mental health awareness happens at all levels – from higher income groups to lower-income groups. All individuals must have access to good healthcare facilities of all kinds, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Also, I feel that the world is in dire need of empathy. If we could only start looking at other people with the lens of empathy, we will understand each other’s problems better.”
“Practice kindness and understanding”
Amandeep Sandhu – Writer and Journalist
“Mental healthcare for all is an ideal, but it’s quite impossible to realise. Mostly because, even if we ignore the capacity to deal with the world, the fact is mental health is personal and private. Many times, we won’t even know how exactly everyone involved is feeling, what they are thinking. That is why the goal looks elusive to me.
Our woeful health care system, our rigid and biased society, our tendency to label and judge each other, all contribute to the inequalities in mental healthcare access. On top of this, there is poverty. To me, poverty is a huge reason people are not only in crises but also vulnerable to jolts that shake them.
Developing social and medical facilities will take a long time. Given the politics in the country, we can never be sure we will have good policies or funding. However, something that we can all do is practice kindness and understanding and create a world where we have a sense of being safe and accepted.”
“Our social fabric doesn’t allow conversations around mental health”
Dr. Marcus Ranney – Founder & CEO, The Human Edge
“There’s a knowledge inequity in our country. On one hand, you have mental health care professionals, academics, and activists raising awareness, and breaking the stigma around mental health online as well as offline. But on the other hand, there’s still a large population that doesn’t have the basic knowledge about mental wellbeing. So, lack of awareness is a big problem.
The social fabric of India is also such that it doesn’t allow for these conversations to occur – whether in a domestic setting or in the education system or even in the corporate environment. We haven’t created a system that facilitates conversations about mental health.
Stress is deeply rooted in biology, but the solutions are templatised. The only real way of combating stress then is to work at a biological level. Or, with what we call biohacking. When we understand that our mental health issues ultimately have a biological cause, it may help lift some of the stigmas around mental health conversations.”
“Awareness of mental health is the first step to create a foundation of care”
Shami Raj, Co-founder of Loop Health
“The idea of ‘mental healthcare for all’ has two aspects: education or awareness, and access. Awareness of mental health is the first step to create a foundation of care. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around this in homes, workspaces, and education. Without awareness, any interventions will fail. On the access front, we need to think about the availability of care for different kinds of needs. There’s now a profusion of online tools and apps for meditation and other things. However, we need to look at reaching across the social, economic, and other divides and make such solutions more accessible.
For equitable mental health access, we have to first overcome the awareness and stigma barrier. Second, there is a lack of mental healthcare providers. Mental health education that creates practitioners is still very underserved in India.
In terms of solutions, I believe government-initiated interventions in investments around building infrastructure in health centres; investing in more educational institutions that focus on mental health training; and spreading awareness through mass media would help. Meanwhile, workspaces should also adopt mental health-friendly practices with the at-par treatment of mental health conditions with other illnesses – by allowing time outs, paid leaves, and so on.”
“Create an equitable society where basic needs are fulfilled”
Ajit Rangnekar, Director-General, Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad, and ex-dean, ISB
“In an ideal or utopian world, prevention is far more important than treatment. We have to create a truly equitable society where nobody needs to worry about fulfilling their basic needs, where speedy and equal access to fundamental rights is assured to all, and where strife is absent in public life.
In real life, it may mean acceptance of mental health problems as a treatable issue like physical illnesses, easy access to mental healthcare, and a support system to help one overcome mental health problems.”
“Conversations on Mental Health are crucial”
Anna Chandy, Counselor, and Mental Health Advocate
Glad we are having more and more conversations around mental health because if more people speak about it, we are breaking barriers for others to speak up.
The day started with a series of panel discussions covering mental health and its impact on workplaces, how unequal opportunities impact mental health, and also startup culture and mental health.
As part of the conference, wellbeing ambassadors were recognized for their role and significance in supporting wellbeing in their own communities, organizations, and workplaces. The importance of building a community of wellbeing ambassadors across the country was emphasized.
Dr. Ashwin Naik, Founder of Manah Wellness thanked the speakers and panelists for their commitment and dedication to championing the cause of mental health in their communities.
About Manah Wellness
Manah Wellness is India’s leading wellbeing company helping clients build emotionally healthy workplaces for their employees.
Manah Wellness uses a personalized and preventive approach to build highly engaged wellbeing programs for its clients, that are loved by employees and trusted by HR. Over the last year, Manah has worked with 50+ organizations both within India and outside to help build a culture of wellbeing.
Source :Manah Wellness
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Bengaluru Bytes journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.