Often times one's decision to seek help for mental health or emotional issues is looked at with raised eyebrows, to say the least. If one were to put oneself in the other person's shoes one would know the gamut of emotions this person would be carrying within, and the courage she/he has been able to conjure at that point, to step in and seek help. Be it from a counsellor or other professionals.
A bit of encouragement and appreciation of this courage, would go a long way in destigmatizing emotional/mental health issues. It would prevent small issues from becoming something catastrophic and engulfing many lives which could otherwise be healthier and more productive. Let's not look at one person's emotional and mental health issues as something isolated, it actually can effect not only the person concerned, but many people around him/her, like the entire family, be it parents, spouses, children or siblings, and can scald close friends and coworkers. It can actually damage and leave a scar on other's lives, at an emotional level. It is true that we all go through ups and downs in life, and many a times we are able to cope and emerge out of the situations, maybe even a bit stronger and wiser. However one needs to be aware and mindful when problems seem to linger on, and start affecting one or more spheres of one's life. Sudden or even gradual changes in mood, behavior, appetite or sleep patterns could be indicators of emotional or mental health problems, and need proper attention. Left unattended smaller issues could lead to major breakdowns, the most drastic damages could be in the form of self harm or sometimes even causing harm to others in a direct or indirect form. The hurdles in the way of seeking help could be manifold. The likely reasons being lack of motivation, confusion, fear of being ridiculed by friends or family, The other hurdles being lack of awareness about mental/emotional health problems, the type of help to be sought, the myths about counselling and what it entails, in case medication is recommended, the fear of it's implications. Financial constraints can also sometimes come in the way, as seeking professional help or counselling sessions can prove to be expensive. It is indeed quite scary to stand at such a juncture all alone. Talking about the issues openly without the fear of being judged goes a long way in helping others to do the same. This is very relevant in a developing country like ours, where the stigma and fear around mental health issues is deeply entrenched. In recent times a few known personalities have taken the courage of talking about their own battles with emotional and mental health issues, and this has actually motivated others to become more open to seek help. The society owes a big thanks to such brave people who are also equally empathetic, as they chose to talk about their issues. A strong motivation for them being able to help others, going through similar situations. "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known their own defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Seeking help needs courage. Once we start appreciating that courage in ourselves and others, hope will emerge. As for seeking help in the form of counselling, lets also recognise the fact that it need not always be for mental health issues, it can be regarding any day to day problems/issues that a person is facing, and finding difficulties in coping with. Counselling particularly can help a lot in opening the doors to unique self awareness and growth. We at Sanjivini believe that each person has the inherent strength to cope with difficult situations and find answers, sometimes in life the objectivity can get hazy and that's when a non judgmental and empathic professional person can immensely help in slowly bringing back the objectivity and confidence in the inner strength. "Often it is the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self." - Karen Salmansohn To see a depressed, anxious or confused person, slowly gain back their confidence and start trusting themselves and their decision making abilities, can be a very rewarding experience, for a friend, family members and even the professional who is helping out. This can keep the cycle going, and can enrich and change lives. Let's hope that this happens with a greater momentum, and the momentum gets strengthened with each passing day. Next time a dear one is considering seeking help for the confusion or sadness that is engulfing them, let's encourage them and be a supportive. Do have the same compassion for yourselves as well, and do give yourself the same appreciation for the courage you might be showing in choosing your wellbeing. Our society can benefit a lot from the small choices we make each day. So let's have the courage to be our own selves and make choices which go a long way in helping ourselves and our dear ones, or even a stranger for that matter.