10 October 2023
“There has been an upsurge in the number of youngsters coming in and being brought in by their parents for mental health consultation at Fortis Mohali. While social media addiction is making them aggressive, they are also undergoing stress to match high expectations in academics of their parents”, says Dr Hardeep Singh, Senior Consultant, Department of Mental Health, Fortis Mohali.
According to a recent survey conducted by the LocalCircles (https://www.localcircles.com/a/press/page/children-gadget-addiction-india) , 1 in 3 parents in India say their children are turning aggressive, depressed due to social media and online gaming addiction. Dr. Hardeep also cited that another national survey conducted in India found that six out of ten youngsters between the ages of 9 and 17 spend over three hours daily on social media or gaming sites. The survey revealed that prolonged social media use increases the risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety among children.
To raise awareness on the importance of mental health and to mobilize efforts in support of the cause, World Mental Health Day is celebrated across the world on 10th October every year. The theme for this year’s event is – “Mental Health a Universal Human Right.”
Dr Hardeep Singh in an advisory explains why mental health is equally important as maintaining physical health.
-What is mental health?
Mental health encompasses a wide range of emotions that affect an individual at an emotional, psychological and social level. “Mental ability is how a person copes up with mental stress and how it impacts their decision-making power,” added Dr Singh.
-Is our society receptive?
The harsh truth is that no one in our society cares or remembers your problems. We need to learn to tackle them ourselves. Contacting a mental health professional is like getting your car serviced. There is no shame. The more we talk about our issues, mental health is taken care of. We need to break the shackles of stigma and open up. Remember, your doctor does not want to prescribe a pill or therapy for the sake of doing so, but to help you out of the situation. Lastly, shake off the myths around psychiatry medications. They are safe.
In my opinion, we need to wake up every morning to the fact that mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses. Acceptance is half the battle won. And, it is always best to follow the advice of the expert.