Two third of people suffering from mental health issues have felt isolated, worthless, and ashamed. One of the main reasons for this is the stigma surrounding mental health. I must admit that we as people, organizations, society, and families have become much more empathetic towards mental health and their challenges in the last few decades but still, a lot needs to be done to address the taboo associated with it. I have heard many of my clients saying how hesitant and incapable they felt initially to seek help from a mental health professional. It’s very surprising sometimes to understand the logic behind this thought as our brain is just another part of our body. A person should feel as open to discuss their struggles with depression as they would for a broken hand.

One of the most dangerous misperceptions surrounding mental illness is that nothing can be done. Unfortunately, a lot of people that I have encountered sometimes blame themselves for their condition. People regard mental health issues as their incapacities. If I ask you to hold a glass of water for half an hour, probably you would hold it. But how would you feel if I ask you to hold it for a day? In most likely cases, you would not be able to hold it. Would you then blame yourself for not holding the glass or would you rationalize it by saying – it is a very unrealistic demand? Why wouldn’t the same apply to mental health issues? Everyone’s genetic makeup, environment, social support, and life events are different. All of these can greatly influence our capacity to manage stress. So if one can handle the same challenging experience in a healthy way doesn’t mean that everyone else should be able to handle it similarly.

If you are living with a mental health condition, then my message to you is this: Your condition is not your fault. You were unable to control it, that’s why we call it a “disorder/illness”. If anyone could control it, it wouldn’t be called an illness. So if something is beyond your control, why would you want to blame yourself for it? There’s a lot of help available in the form of therapy and medication, and there is absolutely no shame in asking for it. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Santhoshini Datla

I have a post graduate degree in Applied Psychology followed by 4yrs of clinical experience in Indian Naval Hospital Kalyani and NHS United Kingdom. In the last few years, I have been delivering evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression, anxiety and other stress related psychological issues. Psychological well-being is not just mere absence of mental illness but also having good quality of life. There are days when we all feel down, demotivated and lost which is absolutely normal. But if it goes on for a significant period of time and starts affecting your daily life then that it when we need professional help. In psychological therapy I would be helping in making sense of why you feel the way you feel, facilitate you to make better healthier choices, help you learn to think in a way thats more helpful for your mental health and with an overall aim of making clients more independent so much so that they are confident of dealing with challenging situations in the future themselves.