An After Thought, Healthy & Well, Parenting & Relationships

Of Suicides, Mirror & the Pandemic – Is Mental Health Important?

I remember clearly, it was a Sunday morning when the suicide news of a promising young actor, Sushant Singh Rajput flashed on one of my media Whatsapp groups. By the time, I had completed reading one or two lines of this news message, it had already gone viral. The first reaction/emotion that I felt at the very moment was of disbelief. Instantly, I switched on the news channel hoping it to be a hoax. But it was not. This news shook many of us. It also brought up a pertinent question that needs to our attention, “Is mental health important?”

Thanks to the pandemic, discomforting silence envelopes our societies. It feels that the world has already ended and we being the sole survivors. The feeling is quite similar to what Will Smith felt in the movie ‘I am Legend.

Uncertainty prevailing in many crucial aspects of life. In the past few months, this has become the new normal. It’s rather an irony, how ‘Lockdown’ & ‘Lockup’ are such similar terms.

What is Mental Health:

Mental health is related to the emotional, psychological & social well-being of any person. These terms find relevance in Maslow’s theory of the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’. If you are an MBA post-graduate you must have surely come across this 5-pointer pyramid theory that classifies various aspects of human life that keep him or her motivated.

Hierarchy of Needs and Mental Health:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Is mental health important?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Is mental health important?

Physiological needs form the big base of the pyramid which includes food, water, breath and homeostasis. In short, the bare minimum essentials to lead a life.

‘Safety’ is placed above it. Safety needs could be in terms of money, job, health and more. Further up, ‘Social’ needs of a person and its various allies that support a person emotionally like relationships, family, community groups etc. are placed.

The second from the top of this theory of ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ pyramid is ‘Esteem’ which includes appreciation & rewards that the person achieves or wants from society.

Post achieving this, a person moves towards ‘Self-Actualization’. It is that state in a human’s life that he or she rises above the mortal needs and seek nirvana. This state is achieved by great sages or elderly people.

COVID-19 Pandemic & Mental Health

The outbreak of novel Coronavirus was quite sudden. In fact, the world wasn’t prepared for such a pandemic. Hence, the impact felt was more. Right from its outbreak in Wuhan, China to the present day, the pandemic has hit people on various levels.

I remember Donald Trump, referring to it as ‘Chinese Virus’. The video of Prince Charles had gone viral as he followed the Indian tradition of greeting people with folded hands. Ultimately, big or small the impact is on all. In India too, right from the celebs to middle-class & then the daily-wage earning immigrants all have been adversely affected.

What are the Causes of Mental Stress during Pandemic:

From the start of the pandemic until today, the foremost needs of every person as basic as food & health are affected. The long ques of panic-stricken people outside the supermarkets to buy important stuff is proof. This was actually the beginning of pandemic-related mental stress.

Financial Safety:

With the new household responsibilities, came in the stress of job security & the finances. The richest, well-established to the humblest people, all felt this. Despite, the Prime Minister advising companies not to cut jobs or the salaries, people were left jobless and partly paid.

Work from home during a pandemic: Is mental health important?
Work from home during a pandemic: Is mental health important?

Work from Home:

Earlier, people working from home were mocked at. During the lockdown period, while working from home many realized the stress in managing the same. Most people ended up working for more hours and working at odd hours which added its two-bits in deteriorating the mental health.

Zero Social movement and Increased Physical Space:

The lockdown resulted in two things, our movement was restricted and all the family members got stuck in the house. I remember telling it to someone that this was the longest time I had shared with my husband post the initial days of our 10 years of marriage. The endless time together in the same space was valuable for some while equally negative for others.

There was an increased workload for women and men. Compatibility was tested to the core. Restriction on even the most insignificant movements outside the home like going out for a walk prevailed. These important lifestyle factors certainly impacted mental health.

The Pause as the Mirror:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall! Who's gonna rise on this fall?: Mental Health is important
Mirror, Mirror on the wall! Who’s gonna rise on this fall?: Mental Health is important

Well, the pandemic initiated lockdown was kind of a pause button in all of our lives. We realized the importance of mental well-being. Suddenly we were occupied in doing different kinds of work than the usual. Hardly any time was left for self and yet this phase gave us moments to think about ourselves deeply. Whether it was our growth trajectory or our relationships or successes & failures.

Some derived remarkable improvements in self while it was devastating for a few others. I think the examination of self in the mirror was too overwhelming for some to handle. Hence, Suicides happened!

Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide: Is mental health important?
Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide raises the one pertinent question about the importance of Mental Health

Mental Health v/s Physical Health:

Most of us are concerned about the physical well-being while mental health is not quite important. During the testing time of this COVID19, as a result, some people reached their thresholds of optimism, didn’t find any hope and gave up their lives. While some came out with exemplary mental health like actor Sonu Sood who helped the government in many aspects.

How to become strong mental health-wise & how to cope with mental stress?

During COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of mental health vis a vis physical & existential needs has been realised. The following things can be done to have a strong mental framework for self:

  • Have a close friend who doesn’t judge you. Confide in them all your worries. Remember, two is always a company.
  • Maintain a journal in case you don’t have the above. Pour in all your thoughts on the paper.
  • Remember successes & failures are just momentary. Say it to yourself, “This too shall pass.”
  • Say a little prayer.
  • On feeling overtly miserable, talk to an expert.
  • Get true with relationships and bond genuinely. The ego & anger is always in your head and not in other person’s.
  • Practice a bit of meditation in any form.
  • Address your situations and never think of adverse steps like suicide.

Need some more dose of positivity then read this!

Hope this post helps you in narrowing down to the exact factor that is causing you mental stress. Also hoping that the solutions will come handy while combating the same. According to Indian religious scriptures, a soul gets a human body after experiencing 84 lakh yonis. So cherish human life and remember, “Life never gives up on you until you give it up.”

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This post is a part of the Blog train – THE PANDEMIC THAT CHANGED OUR LIFE UPSIDE DOWN initiated by blogger Ila Varma  to bring the bloggers together to share numerous experiences of #PandemicLockdown2020.

The next post in the series is by one of my friend Ekta Shah and I would like to especially thank you to Sumit Sharma for introducing me to this series of post hosted by Ila Verma

(23) Comments

  1. Mental Health plays a crucial role in everyone’s life. I often make sure to do all things positive and the moment I feel low or stressed, I usually use the magic of gratitude and it helps me calm down.

  2. Indeed these pandemic times have been testing for many of us. Some have been able to manage things well and some have not been able to. With the current suicide of Sushant even I felt that mental health needs to be talked about. Nobody has to live with pain for a long time and find solace in closed ones.

  3. Sushant Singh Rajput suicide has open discussion about mental health. Yet it will take a lot of time to talk about it openly and accept it as a illness that can be treated

  4. You wrote right .. we shouldn’t make the stress heavy on our mind and no need to think the adverse step .. every thing has a solution definitely..

  5. nadia kohli says:

    i totally can relate to every word of yours. it is so important to maintain sanity in every manner. good your have brought so many areas of concern.

  6. A nicely written topic on mental health. It’s very true that we always ignore our mental health which needs to be diagnosed and treated as our physical ailments are done.

  7. This corona period has caused anxiety to lot of people. There were lot of different reasons for that. In most of the cases it was money but other reasons were also there. It is highly important to keep yourself stress free in this phase of life.

    1. Even though we can blame it on the present times, we need to get s hold on ourselves. You have explained so well in your post about mental health and how to deal with it. Thanks

  8. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna says:

    Yes this pandemic has created a havoc on our mental health and it is also true that people didn’t take mental health as seriously as physical health. Thanks a lot for sharing wonderful tips for improving mental health. Will help all of us stay positive during this difficult situation.

  9. Metal Health is of utmost importance especially during the crisis we all are going through. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Failure gives you a different perspective to look at thingd and it’s upto us to take it as a stepping stone rather than defeating by it.

  10. Mental health is always important, it is just that Lockdown period has made us more aware of it. And all the factors right from family to finance surely matters in having a good mental health.

  11. We may be a decade or two late compared to other countries but I am so glad that people are finally opening up about Mental Health, Anxiety & Depression. It’s about time we talk and help each other through this.

  12. i completely agree. this pandemic has changed the way we see life. stress and anxiety has gone thru the roof and its so important that we learn how to cope with it.

  13. Taranpreet says:

    Well written. I believe a lot of us ignore our mental health to an extent that it takes a toll on us. Being a person suffering from depression I know how important it is to open up and talk.

  14. The pandemic has affected every person. Irrespective of their age, profession or financial status. Meditation and listening to motivational podcasts is keeping me afloat.

  15. The times have been tough and indeed its important that we discuss and talk about the mental health and support the people around

  16. Mental health is less talked or discuss about because of the stigma stick to it. COVID 19 has generated a lot of stress in our lives and some people are not find it easy to cope with it.

  17. You have expressed absolutely what we are all going through! I really liked your tips – simple and so powerful!
    I still find it difficult to comprehend the slew of suicides that have taken place in the last few months itself… the very fabric of our society needs a closer look!

    1. Thanks for the appreciation and yes we as a society actually need to take a closer look at our processes and behavior towards each other.

  18. This pandemic has highlighted the mental health topic as many are suffering from such issues. It is necessary to take care of mental and inner peace.

  19. Maslow’s prism has been so effective in communicating the need/want equation. What does help is to stay positive. Thank you for this blog post. COVID-19 has just shaken us up and nudged us to think about things that were always there but we weren’t thinking TOO hard up until crisis hit our lives.

    1. That is so true.

  20. Kavita says:

    This is the need of the hour to understand how important it is to pay attention to our mental health. The mental pressure has doubled due to the current situation, it is about time that we stop treating mental health topic as a taboo.

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