Let us talk about an issue in Health Care that nobody apparently wants to talk about. It is simply the topic of Mental Health, whether it is at an individual level, a community level, national level or at an international level; the basic problem is that people do not want to talk about it. There is “No Health without Mental Health,” slogan appears very right for our times; for it has been conclusively proven, that people with healthier mental attitudes do better in life. Whether it is at an individual level, where a deep sense of positive energy emerges from those who have positive mental health; resulting in their chasing opportunities, which others may easily overlook.
In 2012 over 43 million American over the age of 18 suffered from some kind of mental disorder. Most of these people remain productive citizens but at a subpar level and mental disorder is the greatest drag on human productivity in modern times. By 2030 it is predicted that 6 trillion of productivity will be lost to chronic non communicable diseases but a major portion of this is going to be caused by mental disorders. WHO estimates 800,000 people commit suicide every year, more than double the rate of murder; and mostly in middle and lower income countries.
Even in wealthy America, most states have dismantled the mental health institutions, that had been set up and now a mental health victim is 10 times more likely to be in prison; than a mental asylum or treatment hospital. The US still has 9 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people and the other countries do much worse and the continent of Africa has 1 for a million people. For people fighting debilitating diseases like HIV and Ebola, and genocidal wars, the trauma can have lasting effects on the people. The active community involvement in working with the women from such ravaged countries pays off in the greatest dividends.
As per Insel, Collins and Hyman writing in Foreign Affairs called Darkness Invisible the scale of this problem will grow with longevity and population growth that is taking place across the world. They point to grassroots studies in Congo and Pakistan where simple community worker’s positive intervention with such women led to measurable positive results. The women for example who received such treatment in Pakistan became not only healthier but were more likely to obtain crucial vaccines for their children, while recovering from posttraumatic stress disorder or prenatal and postpartum depressions.
When I started this blog it was meant for faith and hope. I believe it is a noble cause now to try and raise the millions from out of this shadowy darkness that society imparts on the mentally ill. They deserve better and change is possible. We need to draw them out of the shadows of our existence, and bring them into the light of our everyday life.
My belief is that if we all get together and address this issue, it will make a huge difference in the quality of life, of our future generations. Why should that family member be invisible or incarcerated when he/she can be a productive member of our society. We as a community of compassionate, caring people can lead the way and show each person that life is worthwhile, and worth living to the best of our individual faculties. If we pursue positive actions, we are more likely to achieve positive results. Luckily the medications for treating mental disorders, have grown steadily cheaper, and must be made more accessible. Bill Gates are you listening?
Next time you come across an autistic or dyslexic child, or that crazy adult, or harebrained uncle, pause and admire the world; that they see. Join in their reality, and you will find that there are dimensions to our existence; that we have passed by, unheeded. Just like you do not truly play with a child, till you immerse yourself in its world; and see what he/she, is seeing. To understand what a person is going through, one has to enter their world; and then show them the light of hope, and the path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Only then the imaginary world that the child believes in becomes real, and then you find that you are no longer playing with the child anymore. Instead you are helping another human being understand, this crazy game of life itself!