Coping with Mental Illness and Anxiety

The recent suicide by acclaimed Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has brought up the issue of mental health onto national spotlight. Despite living a highly gifted life marked by stupendous success, it has been reported that he was battling serious mental health issues (https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/sushant-singh-rajput-s-death-has-put-spotlight-on-awareness-treatment-of-mental-health-issues/story-um9I735DmajsYEWdUXKYTM.html). Earlier, actor Deepika Padukone and film director Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter Shaheen publicly acknowledged their battles with depression and anxiety. As a society, we need to accept mental health as any other illness that can happen to anyone, as many times, it is the fear of social stigma that refrains people from talking about depression and anxiety.

Taking cognisance of the rising mental health issues in India, the Supreme Court on June 16 (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/personal-finance-news/why-not-give-insurance-cover-for-mental-illness-sc-to-centre-irdai/articleshow/76400702.cms?from=mdr) asked Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to explain what steps it had taken to provide statutory provision which mandates all insurance companies to provide insurance cover to mental illnesses like other illnesses.

Notices have been issued to the Union Health Ministry as well on a petition filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who argued that the Authority had failed to ensure that insurance companies provide insurance cover for mental illnesses.

The sheer breadth of the uncertainties posed by Covid-19, that has impacted both lives and livelihoods, is a huge contributing factor to depression and anxiety. States WHO on its website: “Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So, it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mental health and agility are one of the most valued assets we have. It is due to the diverse capabilities of our mental faculties that we are able to make life meaningful for us and also grab the skillsets needed to earn a living. It is also a fact that the poor and the marginalised carry the greatest burden of mental health problems.

Talking about mental illness helps to lighten the burden. Let’s not feel shy to talk about it.

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