Mental health stigma

How equipped are we to address the far-reaching consequence of mental health? asks columnist TARANJIT KAUR


| Opinion | 17 Aug 2017 | Asia Samachar |

By Taranjit Kaur

Many limit the parameters of health to physical wellbeing, often overlooking the mental aspect. Surely it is no surprise as mental health issues are generally equated to being crazy, across most cultures. Once a taboo, mental health mismanagement is presently among the leading causes of stress, imposing severe consequences to physical well- being.

Dynamics of a fast moving world changes the pace of life. Disruptions are everywhere in this age of social media, diminishing privacy and sometimes peace. Worries loom for a myriad of reasons, amidst a constant struggle to make ends meet. Coping with life is not so simple after all, especially nowadays.

The World Health Organization (WHO) regards mental health as a state of wellbeing. One that correlates with psychological wellbeing. Depression is a prime example of mental disorder. The causes vary, however, largely associated to happenings arising from the every-day life. Seemingly correlating with the five vices of kam, krodh, lobh, moh and hankaar.

In this day, the younger generation is increasingly experiencing some level of mental health exposure, children alike. Peer pressure and societal expectations are amongst prime contributors leading to stress, subsequently growing into depression. In extreme cases, turning suicidal.

The looming question is – how equipped are we to address the far-reaching consequence of mental health, especially among the younger generation? More importantly, are we willing to break free from the limiting decades long belief that unfairly defines mental wellbeing?

Gurbani says ‘Man Jeetay Jag Jeet’, placing much precedence on power of the mind. Let’s stock take, how much precedence is placed on mental health management among local Sikh institutions and associations alike, let alone at an individual capacity?

The age of rampant competition calls for a renewed approach to build a resilient younger generation, cultivating a behaviour where stress or pressure is reframed as a growth opportunity.

Empowering young ones to speak up is vital, whilst eliminating the fear of being judged. Time has come to question the availability and accessibility of comfort in platforms. Helplines, support groups and awareness programmes on mental health management are amongst solutions for consideration. Over and above these, it is time to have a overarching vision for Sikh youth, emotionally and intellectually savvy. This essentially entails
leveraging on shared strength to build and elevate the character of young Sikh leaders. Ultimately, to collectively uphold Malaysia’s growth aspirations.

Summing up, whilst physical wellbeing is an imperative, the absence of good mental health is almost crippling. Life is precious, make the best of it.

Taranjit Kaur is a Kuala Lumpur based executive who gets involved in Sikh activities. 

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


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