Young Indians feel mental health issues can hit as early as their teenage years

By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi, March 19:

A recent survey has found that 77 per cent Indians feel that the current level of conversations and initiatives around mental health in India are insufficient, while almost 9 in 10 know this is an important ‘health’ aspect.

According to the Fiama Mental Well-being Survey India 2020, which covered 15 cities across India with over 700 participants aged 18-45 years, 1 in 4 young Indians feel that mental health issues can start as early as the teens, while 70 per cent of young India feels that one is susceptible to mental health issues by the age of 35 given the socio-economic milieu we live in.

Conversations around mental health in the country have increased over the last few years, but the problem continues to grow especially in the younger part of the country’s population.

70 per cent of young India under the age of 25 have had issues with mental well-being, but only 26 per cent have been able to consult a professional counsellor or therapist. Most of them have relied on reaching out to friends and family or have looked for help online. This indicates that young India is still hesitant is seeking out professional help, reveals the survey conducted in partnership with Nielsen.

Impact of lockdown on mental well-being:

A whopping 82 per cent of India feels that lockdown has negatively impacted mental and emotional well-being, due to professional uncertainty, inability to pay bills and concerns on mobility.

Young India’s beliefs about mental health and role of social media:

More than half of young respondents associated depression with mental health, followed by stress and disturbed peace of mind

Almost 7 in 10 believe that mental health issues can adversely affect physical health, and more than half feel that it adversely affects personal relationships.

The top possible issues identified by the respondents to have an adverse effect on mental well-being are: Pressure of maintaining relationship with your partner; Managing daily household chores; Work pressure; and Poor performance in exams.

So what helps young India stay balanced?

Almost 60 per cent of young Indians feels activities like yoga, meditation and exercise enhance mental well-being, while almost 2 in 10 rely on socializing to feel better.

Ahead of World Happiness Day, ITC Fiama and mental health literacy-focused NGO MINDS Foundation launched MyHappimess, an initiative designed to encourage conversations, explore the everyday emotions that go through the human mind and drive awareness around mental well-being and health.

As per Dr Raghu Appasani, a Psychiatrist and Founder/CEO of the MINDS Foundation, “We all have mental health issues and at any point in time, we are somewhere on that spectrum.”

He explained that the rise in mental illness has exponentially grown in the past decade and observes, “We all are impacted by mental health distress at some point, whether we are rich, poor, young, or old; therefore, we must all become literate in the language of mental health to create an empathetic and compassionate approach to allow those suffering to no longer feel left in the dark.”

Sameer Satpathy, Divisional Chief Executive, Personal Care Products Business, ITC Limited said, “Stress is a commonly understood and widely experienced term. There are simple things that we often try to do to help alleviate this stress but rarely do we engage in conversations on this. The Fiama-Nielsen survey to understand the changing attitude and behaviour towards mental health corroborates this need to enhance conversations. Fiama with MyHappimess embarks on a purposeful journey to encourage mental well-being and effectively address issues of stress and anxiety in everyday life.”