Why Women Need to Focus on Mental Health
“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world”
Arianna Huffington, American-Greek author and co-founder of The Huffington Post
2020 will go down in history as an exasperating year that afflicted all of humanity. This was the year that forced us out of our comfort zones and brought about unprecedented experiences that each one of us had to learn to deal with in our own ways. Yes, we survived the crazy year that it was! But, not without repercussions. So many people ended up losing their jobs, businesses, health and lives as a result of the pandemic. Even the survivors weren’t spared! If nothing else, the viral outbreak, lockdown and quarantine affected all of us mentally in one form or the other. Feelings of fear, helplessness, frustration and anxiety plagued us for months, while the world was desperately working towards formulating vaccines to arrest the issue from multiplying any further.
Take 24-year old Ramya Nadar*, for instance. Ms. Nadar had moved to Mumbai in 2019 with hopes of building a career in music. Trained vocalist and Carnatic music singer, Ramya came to the city of dreams wanting to establish the right contacts and make a name for herself as a classical musician in Bollywood. She was scrimping to manage her expenses, having had little or no work for months. The nationwide-lockdown hit her hard; not just financially, but more so her state-of-mind. The isolation coupled with zero income left her feeling dejected and depressed. She didn’t really have too many friends to turn to, and she felt embarrassed talking to her family who had warned her against choosing such an erratic career. After months of struggle, Ramya came across an online mental health forum with therapists who were trained to deal with people facing depression and anxiety issues. Ramya finally got the support she needed, and it helped her get her groove back! Today, Ms. Ramya Nadar is in talks with a popular record company to do background score for her first classical vocals album! Let’s wish her good luck on her journey!
Like Ramya, countless women suffer mental health issues in silence without knowing how or whom to talk to about their struggles. Perhaps out of feelings of embarrassment and humiliation, many women tend to hide their mental angst and withdraw their emotions. WHO estimates that approximately 7.5 per cent Indians suffer from some mental disorder and that almost 20 per cent of Indians would have suffered from mental illnesses by December 2020. 94 million Indians suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Another startling fact is that India also accounts for 36.6 per cent of suicides globally, and that suicide is the leading cause of death among females in our country, outranking maternal mortality.
The social stigma that continues around accepting mental disorder prevents many from seeking the right help at the right time. Particularly women, who tend to internalize psychological disturbances out of fear of abandonment and being ostracized, live with these issues until it is too late. Depressive disorders cause 41.9% of disability among women compared to 29.3% among men. Females are more susceptible to mental health issues as a result of inferior treatment, anti-sexuality taboos, gender discrimination and constant comparison to the quintessential “Susheel Bharatiya Naari (Good Indian Woman)”. Besides, many women also deal with hormone-related issues and post-partum depression (experienced by new moms).
Women’s mental health is often the last in order of priority from a personal, familial and societal standpoint. We seek advice and research a whole lot on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right, exercise and stay fit. But we rarely take the same efforts to maintain a healthy mental state! However, times are a-changing. More and more people are bravely coming out in the open and declaring their personal battles with depression and mental disorders. Anushka Sharma, who suffers from anxiety, has openly admitted to seeking help for it. She says that if someone had stomach ache, they would go to the doctor, and that this should not be treated any differently. If and when you feel you are under mental duress – speak to trained therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists for advice. Many forums and organizations in India are helping make women’s minds healthier, such as The Banyan, United We Care, Minds Foundation, and more. There are few online platforms, too, like Manastha, BetterLyf, YourDOST, Mfine, and Wysa that offer counselling. Engaging in mental assistance sessions with trained specialists will help you identify the root cause of the problem and deal with it in the right manner.
We all know the importance of having medical insurance to protect the physical well-being of our loved ones and safeguard them from resulting financial strain of undergoing treatment. But, did you know that health insurance also includes hospitalization due to mental illness,as part of regular health insurance coverage? In June 2020, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issued a circular that instructs insurance companies to incorporate mental health treatment and offer coverage to people diagnosed with mental ailments.
SANA Insure, a Health Insurance Specialist, helps you choose the right medical insurance plan that secures the physical and mental health of your family and you by understanding your needs and expectations. The suggestions are made keeping your interests as the primary guiding factor. Log on to sana.insure to compare, select and purchase the perfect health insurance plan today! You can speak to or chat with a Health Insurance Advisor by clicking on “Free Call” or “Free Chat” icons on the website at your convenience.
Wish you a healthy and happy life!