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mental health

Mental Health

Educate yourself about mental health and mental illness. 

What is Mental Illness?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental illness as a health issue that is associated with changes in thoughts, emotions, behavior, and relationships with others. 

The Akanksha foundation works primarily with individuals who suffer from severe mental illness. Severe mental illnesses can be overcome, in some instances, individuals will spend the rest of their life on medication and need personal care and support.

Other individuals go on to lead independent lives as part of families and communities – a testament to individual strength and resilience.

Stress and Vulnerability

Vulnerability refers to an individual’s susceptibility to mental illness and this is determined by a person’s genetics and early life experiences.
 

Psychosocial stress is associated with negative life events such as loss of amental health loved one, getting fired from a job, experiencing trauma relationship conflicts, etc. Alcohol and drug use can also interact negatively with a person’s biological vulnerability. A combination of biological vulnerability and stressors can lead to mental illnesses such as psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. as they are the body and brain’s way of coping with stressors. Treatment models for mental illness usually focus on a combination of addressing both biological and social factors. Examples are:

  • Taking medication
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use
  • Developing effective coping skills for managing stress
  • Participating in meaningful activities
  • Building socially supportive relationships

If you are interested in finding out more about a specific disorder in more detail please refer to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Mental Illness in India

Mental health contributes to 31% of the global disease burden. But only receives 1% or less funding from national health budgets worldwide.

In India, there is 90% treatment gap for those living with the mental health of persons living with mental illness experience long term care need and these individuals are languishing in mental hospitals, beggar homes 10-12% and therefore experience poor quality of living experience, poor mental health outcomes, significant human rights violations.

In India, most funding towards mental health is utilized for institutional care that focuses on addressing solely biological vulnerabilities rather than social stressors (e.g. poverty, employment status, abuse, homelessness)

The recent National Mental Health Policy called for a convergence between health and social care systems to address vulnerable and marginalized groups who suffer from mental illnesses.

The Akanksha foundation aims to address both the biological and social factors that contribute to the emergence of mental illness through our treatment and prevention programs

Poverty-Mental Illness-Homelessness

We aim to address the factors that create the circumstances that lead individuals suffering from mental illness to fall into homelessness.
 

Research has shown a close link between poverty and mental illness: Common mental disorders are twice as frequent among poor communities

  • Those experiencing debt and hunger, poverty, overcrowded housing are more likely to suffer from common mental disorders
  • The highest prevalence of mental disorders are among those with the lowest levels of education and the unemployed
  • Those from the lowest socio-economic background have a risk 8 times higher than those of higher SES for schizophrenia

Evidence also shows that this relationship is cyclical:

In regard to homelessness, mental illness affects an individual’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life (self-care, household management, employment) in addition to preventing individuals from maintaining stable relationships (caregivers, friends, family).

These factors combined with the stress of living with a mental illness, those suffering from mental illness are much more likely to fall into homelessness than the general population.

As a consequence, a large group of individuals in our population are vulnerable to falling into this vicious cycle.

Mental Health & Daily Life

Even if you aren’t suffering from a severe mental illness, the daily stressors of the modern age can affect anyone negatively.

It is normal to experience highs and lows, and important to take your mental feelings as seriously as you do your physical.

There are many ways in which you can keep yourself healthy mentally, we have listed a few ways below:poverty mental health

  • Be kind towards yourself and others
  • Take time for rest
  • Exercise at least a few times a week
  • Participate in activities that you enjoy
  • Surround yourself with a positive support network
  • Practice gratitude
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Sleep!
  • Educate yourself on mental health

 If you or someone you know is experiencing serious symptoms of mental illness including hallucinations, delusions, consistent depressive mood, suicidal thoughts, etc. please get help.

Stigma & Discrimination

Stigma and discrimination can seriously affect the health, welfare, and quality of life of people with mental health problems.

The ignorance, fear, misunderstanding, and prejudice that surround mental illness deepen the severity of the illness as individuals withdraw further from the world around them.

All of our clients have at some point in their life experienced the negative consequences of stigma and discrimination.

What can you do to reduce stigma and discrimination?

What can you do reduce stigma and discrimination

General Mental Health Information

Akanksha FoundationMental Health & Suicide Helpline(+91) 9542866689

Akanksha Foundation is a helpline providing emotional support for those who are stressed, distressed, depressed, or suicidal.

Call us on: +91 9542866689

Or email us at support@akankshafoundation.in

We guarantee complete anonymity and confidentiality between you and us.

You can meet a counselor at the center and talk face to face. However, it is recommended that you call the helpline and take an appointment before coming to the center.