World Mental Health Day – 10th October

world mental health

Mental Health and Its Importance

A lot of people today are under stress due to the covid-19 pandemic across India and the world. Job loss, pay cuts, uncertainty about future, work-from-home for long hours, being confined at home for months have made their situation worse.

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, it is of paramount importance to highlight the importance of mental health issues like stress and how it can take a heavy toll on a person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Left untreated, it can also lead to more serious mental health problems as well as adversely impact one’s professional and personal life and relationships.

Stress is just like any other physical illness and needs to be treated by a healthcare professional. So, people should let go of any stigma and not hesitate to seek help from qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Family members and loved ones can play an important role helping the person get well soon.

What is stress?

Stress is our body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. It can be in response to negative or positive events. Stress is considered to be a normal response of the body to any event.

How does stress affect physical and mental health?

When a person faces continuous stress it causes physiological changes in the body to deal with the stress. Prolonged activation of the stress response causes harm to the body– both physical and mental.

Continuous stress can lead to a disturbance in the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, gastric discomfort, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, disturbed sleep. Mental health problems like depression, panic attacks, or anxiety can also develop as a result of prolonged stress. Some people might even engage in substance use in order to deal with the stress and anxiety which further aggravates the problem.

What are the signs and symptoms of stress?

Some of the common symptoms of stress include dizziness or a general feeling of “numbness”, body ache, head ache, reduced appetite, disturbed sleep, increased heart rate, exhaustion, trembling, weight gain, weight loss or bowel movement irregularities. If you or someone from your family (or a distant relative, kith or kin), is exhibiting these signs and symptoms, it is imperative to seek the right treatment at the right time, for the treatment to be beneficial and effective. Do not hesitate in sharing details of these symptoms with your family members or someone whom you confide in, as family support is crucial for full recovery.

Tips for alleviating stress:

People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. You may want to begin with the following tips:

  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Follow a proper daily routine
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene
  • Make time for hobbies and interests
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Seek treatment with a mental health professional and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

On the occasion of World Mental Health today, let us all spread this message among everyone we know. If you or anybody you know is under stress or has exhibited the symptoms of stress, please contact a qualified mental health professional.

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