KT edit: Acceptance crucial in managing mental health issues

Better mental health will result in better physical health with improved sleep patterns and immune system.

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Published: Tue 7 May 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 May 2019, 10:23 PM

If seeking help for a mental health issue is a struggle, living with it is a battle. Not wanting to be labelled 'mentally ill' or 'crazy', such patients carry on with life, little realising that the illness could bring about lasting biological changes in the brain. Hence it is heartening when over 72 per cent of residents in the UAE say they are willing to seek, or will recommend seeking, help from a mental health professional if they (or a person they are close to) were struggling with their mental health.
Fear and shame, absence of awareness and insight, lack of a perceived need for treatment and difficulty in revealing personal details to a stranger keep people away from professional help. And perceived negative attributes surrounding the illnesses such as being weak, incompetent, unreliable, temperamental and prone to harmful attitude make people look down on those with this illness. It is here that the need arises for an awareness that getting mental illness treated will help make the disorder more manageable, just like any other illness. Better mental health will result in better physical health with improved sleep patterns and immune system, which will, in turn, help improve productivity, increase motivation levels, and sharpen focus on daily tasks, resulting in better quality of life.
Realisation that the condition is a part of the patient's life, and that he is not the illness itself is important, and so is the compassion extended towards those suffering from it. Those close to the stricken ones should be patient and offer emotional support and reassurance, letting them know that they are cared for, no matter what. The state should, on its part, promote an effective treatment system, improve access to care and bring the illness under the purview of insurance. Quashing the stigma is crucial, and this can be achieved by educating people on the illness so that an ailment that cannot always be seen with the human eye is accepted. Remember, mental illness is a condition that requires treatment, regardless of what form it is - from counselling to medication and therapy, there is a solution. But the first step is to accept it.

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