Why Is Talking About Mental Illness Still A Taboo In India?

Arya Sharan

“Mental illness is a serious issue. Romanticizing and glorifying it is dangerous and irresponsible. If we don’t stop, we’ll pass it onto our children. The upbringing of our children is responsible for a lot of the psychological problems we are seeing today.” –Akin Olokun


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Despite getting better in the fields of science and technology we are still helpless when it comes to preventing suicides and cases of depression.

Ever wondered why?


Lack of awareness


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It seems that because we know so little about mental health and are more supremely surrounded by the mental illness stigma that people don’t consider it as important as it should have been.


No interest in looking for a permanent solution


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Whenever a person commits suicide, everyone posts about it on the social networking sites, discussions and debates about how strong or weak the deceased was. Such talks are being conducted and it all fades away with the passage of time.


Mental illness is a real problem


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According to WHO (World Health Organization), one in four people in the world is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. And around 450 million people are currently suffering from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide.


Fear of disapproval by the society


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This does not get unnoticed by the government and the healthcare facility providers but besides the availability of quality healthcare, or lack thereof, a major deterrent to seeking treatment is a stigma, a taboo. And that has a lot to do with how those with mental illness are treated by the society.


There are some commonly misunderstood beliefs about those suffering through some kind of mental disorder:


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  • They are not dangerous: The most popularly accepted wrong notion is that the people with mental health problems are dangerous – especially those with schizophrenia, alcoholism, bipolar disorder and drug dependence
  • Not thinking about it will not solve the problem: People also believe that most of the mental health problems such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression are self-inflicted and the sufferers must stop thinking about the problems
  • Try talking to them and then judge: It is also believed that people with mental health problems are very hard to talk to but these is completely wrong as they are the ones waiting for a helping hand to take them out of the misery


Since eternity people with mental health problems are treated differently, excluded and tortured. These have been a result of the misconceptions that the rest of the world has been holding that the patients of mental sickness are violent or unpredictable than people without such problems, or somehow just “different”, but none of these beliefs have backed theories with them and also the people might have been unpredictable and aloof at times due to lack of proper attention and care.



So, it’s high time we realize that our psychological health is equally important as our physical wellness and we start treating the patients of mental disorders with love and affection.

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