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Mental Health and Awareness in Youth

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In the year 2017, Binisha Shah, a student of dental science, who was pursuing her undergraduate program in Bangladesh, committed suicide. This news left everyone shocked and scandalized. A fear was developed among the Nepali students regarding why she took such a bold step. The case did not find any strong reason but many of her colleagues speculated the grounds to be the pressure from the college department concerning her financial issues.  

Just like Binisha’s story, there are many other similar news that we get to hear time and often. Be it students committing suicide or victims of depression or unwanted indulgence into drugs and abuse; the reason is the change and stress that hit them time and often. Adulthood is such a stage where you experience many transitional phases. You go through a series of changes from physical to emotional changes; everything seems to be a lot bothersome. And this strain of not being able to take such changes often mislead them. So what could be it’s repercussion? This will affect in mental well being of youth.

A fact is undeniable that health is not just related to physical goodness but it’s equally important with mental, emotional and social well being of a person. This fact has been put forth by the WHO in its standard mark of definition about health

Mental health issues, in the present context, is alarming at the highest pace in comparison to the entire globe. Statistics show that 1 out of 10 children are the sufferers of mental health problems and 3 out of 4 have no access of its treatment. The ratio is increasing brutally. About 76% and 85% of low and middle income countries have no access to mental health treatment. And Nepal lying under the same division mental health problems are the most burning issues but the trend that we have here is people do not open up about such sensitive issues.

In context of Nepal, in certain time lapse 2% is the ratio in which mental health problems are estimated to increase and out of our total population 5% are its victim. This problem seems to be prominent from an early age of 14 and 10- 19 years teens are supposed to be its major victim. 

Mental health problems develop several crucial consequences may be anxiety, fear, panic attack and majorly depression that it has been vital reason for death too. It hampers on your psychological stability, the way you think and often in your physical appearance too. Mental health issues doesn’t let a person to have stable mindset.

Neha Bista, Student of Medical Science at CMC Hospital

In context to Nepal, these are even considered to be a social stigma and taboos that these problems are not highlighted as a disease. In a question asked to Neha Bista, student of medical science at CMC Hospital, she shares her notion as “Nowadays people are suffering from many psychiatric disorder which is being unnoticed. In Nepal, where superstitious beliefs are most prevalent, such conditions are taken as “ INCARNATION OF GOD/GODDESS” and they start to worship the victim as re-incarnation of God” 

When she was asked about what could be the possible causes for this problem, Neha mentioned, “Most of the common causes are supposed to be lack of knowledge about the disorder, social stigma, solitary lifestyle, lack of emotional support, history of abuse, a history of trauma, social isolation and many more “

Yes, these facts are indubitable that they are provoking reason of mental health problems among today’s generation. Also the following points can generalize the idea of its causes

  • Family and personal life disputes.

The conflict that goes on daily life in between families creates a negative thoughts in the young and growing pupils of today. This can make them victim of mental health. We see lots of cases where disputes are created due to drunkard nature of family member, divorce or separation issues and even the death of some closed belongings can make a serious impact upon the person.

  • Health issues

Health issues have also been provoking factor for many suffers from different kinds of illness be it physical disorder or non communicable disease, which definitely hampers an individual mental state.

  • Stress in Academic and Professional life

In this competitive world, most students and professionally engaged youth have a very huge track to run around. From meeting up your own expectations to competing others keeps person in very stressful mind so this can have a harmful impact. So, students and such youth need to be very much serene through out their academics and daily work life respectively. Also students being bullied and traumatized has created the ratio of mental issues even more big. Not just that personal attack, sarcasm, trolls and memes on personal level leaves a person perplexed within their own mental state.

  • Superior and inferior complexities 

    Our society has been structured in such a way that this battle in superior and inferior level will never come to an end. This  battle comes up in form of economic stability, caste, religion, sex, skin color, lifestyle and many. This definitely has created turmoil in our society and mental health problems among the direct or indirect victims of such complexities.

  • Violence against women

Women who have been victim of several violence are most likely to be sufferers of mental health problems.

Now when we see its importance in one’s life, we need to equally understand its importance among the youth too. Nepal where 40.68% is youth population, holds great importance of our youth being physically and mentally fit. Youth who are supposed to be the future leaders of tomorrow need to have that power to cope out with any adverse situation of life. This is possible only when they are mentally strong. Youth have varied dimensions to be involved, they need to have their opinions put forward. Their input in making plans and policies and if they do not sound mental condition, imagine the country and its leading path. 

In this similar regard, Prashamsha Ghimire a student of psychology presents her opinion as “ Youth are considered to be pillars of the country, when pillars are not strong enough entire structure will not have stability. No country in the world is developed without the involvement of youths. Thus, if the accelerator of development are not mentally fit, a hindrance is definitely created for development pace in country.”

She further explains that “ Youths are supposed to be the mediocre between young and old age group. They act as a connecting link who go side by side towards the prosperous nation. If youth are not mentally fit enough they can not inspire others to do good. They lose their inner confidence, have pessimistic perception and its ultimate impact is seen among the entire nation. Thus, we need to have mentally, physically, emotionally and socially fit youth.” 

When we apprehend the importance of sound mental health, we need to know how can one remain mentally fit. As it is said that prevention is better than cure. We do not need to have bigger initiations to be taken. It will start from our own family. One should get the strong platform where one can raise voice, have freedom of opinions, choices and opportunities to explore more. Feeling of hatred, be it in any terms, should not exist. There is always the ultimate need to develop the hopeful and optimistic thoughts in life. Family members and colleagues surrounding the person need to understand one’s feelings, thoughts and sentiments, so that one can have better mental status. Just in case one has already suffered, psychological  or psychiatric counselling, prescribed medication and meditation could be one of the ways of its remedy.

To sum up, Nepal a country where peace, spirituality and freedom has been always celebrated, has some youth who are also victims of mental health issues. Initiations are yet to be taken in large scale to find better solutions for this problem but it is definitely a high time now to do so. If not, then we will not just suffer the loss of our healthy youths but we will be losing the essence of Nepal and country will have darker future.

So, let’s realize it now that mental health problems are not taboos any more; it is rather a disease that can be cured. Let us take an initiation to make everyone aware about this.

-Madhu Dhakal