The stigma surrounding mental health is problematic for children that are brought up in an Indian household. Often due to parents’ refusal to accept the fact that there may be something wrong with their child.
Studies suggest that one in every four individuals experience mental health problems once in their lifetime. The stigma associated with mental health arises from the fear of being judged by society. There is a dire need for normalization of mental health issues that arise due to imbalances of chemicals in the brain. According to a survey, more than 50 percent of parents stated that they had never given ‘the talk’ to their children. The others claimed that they were clueless about how to address this issue. There were also some parents who claimed that they never felt the need to discuss the matter of mental health, as it was not important.
The narrative that mental health is not real because one cannot physically see it is utterly baseless. The brain is as much an organ as the heart, and moreover, it controls every part of the brain. MRI scans show the faulty production of chemicals, such as dopamine or serotonin, which are responsible for causing mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Rebecca, a student of St. Stephen’s College, opines, “Some parents are supportive if we consider mental health and the others aren’t, but they can’t be blamed because this is how they were brought up and that reflects in their parenting.”
In addition to this, men are more likely to attempt suicide than women solely because they are conditioned to unhealthy insinuations such as “boys do not cry” and “man up”. These unhealthy behaviours are learned at an age when boys are extremely young. Seeking professional help does not come easy to children because their parents never created a safe atmosphere for them to talk about what they may be going through. Moreover, professional help cannot be sought without informing parents due to high expenses.
Many children and young adults continue to suffer in silence because they are afraid of what their parents might have to say about their situation. However, they fail to realize that communication is essential and talking to their parents may actually bring out their empathetic side.
Feature Image Credits: Kids Helpline