De-stigmatising Psychology in India

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In a country like India, seeking a counselor’s help is seen as a stigma. In this article, we try to trace the reasons why and also give tips to help yourself get better.

Just like how DNA makes an individual unique, neurons in our brain generate connections to make our thought process unique. This is called the Human Connectome. Each individual perceives, analyses and solves a given situation differently. Psychology helps us understand this behavior. But what is psychology?

Psychology is a science which helps understand the mental functions of an individual in different situations. However, there are stigmas attached to this term. Many people take this as a negative term. Especially in a country like India, where free advice is easily available so when people pay to get advice it is rejected by society. What people don’t understand is that it is not only ok to go to a counselor or a psychologist but sometimes necessary as well. It helps one understand themselves better. In our country, it is considered a taboo, so no one is ready to talk openly about their feelings and don’t want to take help of others.

This is not our fault we were brought up in this way. India, being a community-driven society, tend to focus on solving issues within the community or the family. So, earlier issues of depression or other psychological issues that used to exist were dealt with, with limited understanding of the problem, within the family or the community. But since the advent of the nuclear family setup, the issues are not being addressed.

Reasons Why People Hesitate to Seek Help

To understand why people don’t seek help, we need to look at the following reasons. The common link between them is our very social life.

  1. The Paagal hai Statement: Most people believe if anyone is going to a psychiatrist or a counselor, then he/she will be labeled as crazy or mentally unstable. The most common thing that we hear is “paagal hai”.
  2. Being Too Dependent – In some cases, people will think that you are dependent on others.
  3. Lacking Confidence – In other cases, some people don’t want to come across as a person who doesn’t live one’s life on one’s terms and needs others to help them.
  4. Requiring Approval – Sometimes we feel we need the approval of others in our life in making decisions.
  5. Overthinking – If we share our concern with others then it is believed that we are overthinking about stuff. Ignorance by others and the fear of not being understood or taken seriously forces us to gulp down our feelings and stay quiet.
  6. Embarrassment – Sometimes people don’t’ go to escape embarrassment. The fear of being judged by other person is also a reason that people don’t share. They are afraid to tell their story of failures.

 

Consequences Can Be Dire 

The generation that suffers the most due to this hesitation, due to stigma set by the society, is the present generation, the millennials. Due to a generation gap, they are not able to talk openly with their parents. Parents try to be supportive but they force their child into a profession in which they are not interested in. Parents are also not at fault completely, many career options which are not conventional are rejected by society. So, at this stage, they should consult a counselor who can help their child in a meaningful way and make them understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can make a better decision.

Lack of communication among parents and their children can send the child into depression. Depression again is a major problem prevailing in our society. Certain parameters of happiness are predefined. We do what we are told to do, this does not help us find our interests, which in turn makes us frustrated and depressed. But, it is the need of the hour that people understand that depression is not a mental illness it is just a state of mind. Bear in mind that I am not talking about severe clinical depression as it is different from situational depression, which I refer to here. But if not treated at the right time it can lead to a severe problem.

And if untreated minor forms of depression could lead to severe clinical depression. There are some cases; where people were consumed so much by depression, that death was the ultimate release. Chester Bennington, Avicii, Robin Williams are some of the examples. All of them had one thing in common and that was depression.

Need for Change

Recently, the film Dear Zindagi, brilliantly portrayed the complexity of the human brain. It was one of the very few made in India that tackled the issue of psychological disorder. In this movie, the protagonist is suffering through a sad phase in life but through a little help from a therapist, she is able to come to peace and look life in a new light.

Social media has also changed the way today’s generation get their information from. They are becoming more informed about the benefits of seeking psychological help thanks to the growing use of social media.

The concept of counseling is still a strange one to many in India. Many good schools hire counselors so that children can share their doubts and problems with someone because not all problems can be shared with parents. We need someone who is mature enough to guide us well. This concept is gaining popularity in big cities as nowadays many workshops are held in school and colleges to spread awareness.

What You Can Do Yourself

Well if you feel that your family or your community is not getting the level of awareness required for helping your issues, there are certain things that you can do yourself in order to help yourself.

  1. Being Vocal – It is imperative that you start being more vocal and expressing your ideas freely and taking the stand for what you believe in. More importantly, get people to listen to you.
  2. Find Like-Minded People – You should try to find people with similar views and try to connect them in order to eradicate negativity and not let others drag you down.
  3. Supporting Others. This might sound easy but it is the most difficult thing to do as it is a basic instinct to judge others. Hearing the problems of a person is sometimes the only therapy that he needs. In some case, listening and supporting others is therapeutic for yourself.
  4. Avoid Unnecessary Things: It would also be better if you started ignoring what’s not necessary and doesn’t help you grow as a person. This will increase your productivity and you will get time to do things that actually make you happy.
  5. Overcoming Failures – It is important to overcome insecurities and understanding that failures are part of life. It is the failure that makes us strong and we are careful in future of not making same the mistakes again.
  6. No One is Perfect – Understanding the fact that nobody is perfect and has some weakness and imperfection, will help you realize your goals more. So, it is fine if you are not excellent in every field.
  7. Support from Parents – Last but not least, parents need to support and believe in their child’s decisions. You are the one your child looks up to, so be a good example. Children should be taught the importance of being more expressive about their feelings.

To Conclude

Finding your niche is necessary to give your best in whatever you are doing. Understanding your psychology can be of great help in this aspect. It is not necessary to fit in the molds made up by society if it doesn’t make you happy. Understanding your psychology is not a one-day task. It takes time and can be done by being supportive and getting support. It is difficult to understand and solve the complexities of the human brain, but one can always try. We at Brainpundits are also here to help you as you can explore yourself by taking one of our numerous free tests. So, what are you waiting for? Take care and start exploring yourself!

Bhawna Kaushik

An avid reader, like reading novels. I write just for fun. I take life as it comes, living in the moment.

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