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Talking openly about mental health issues is on the rise

 Talking openly about mental health issues is on the rise

It took time to admit that I had a mental health problem. Arpana Thapa of Satdobato narrated her experience. Arpana, who works in a private company, is yet to be identified as to why mental health problems started.

Arpana, who came to the hospital after having headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, and diarrhea, was recommended to see a psychiatrist after all the tests. At that time she could not accept it herself. After the doctor consulted for a while, she was ready to undergo a mental examination. After the examination, the doctor prescribed medicine according to the advice that he would recover after taking normal medicine. As per the doctor's advice, she started taking medicine.

His parents knew that he had gone to the hospital. Her parents asked what the doctor said but she told other things without telling the real problem. She says, 'When I was finding it difficult to accept myself, I told other reasons because I thought what my parents would understand or how it would affect me.' Meanwhile, with the help of my friend Shruti, she started consulting psychologists and trying to understand things. She felt better after about 6 months due to taking medicine regularly and consulting with psychologists.

Some time ago, former Miss Nepal and journalist Malvika Subba spoke about the mental health problems experienced by actress Namrata Shrestha before that. They talk openly about mental health problems and even suggest that they should go for treatment as it is similar to other health problems.

For 27-year-old Arpana, the support and support of her friend Shruti was important. She studied things related to mental health. She consulted a psychologist, listened to public figures who had suffered from mental health problems. Then she realized that mental health issues are not something to hide. By then, his problem was 90 percent cured. After that, she started talking about mental health with her parents. She realized that she could not understand her parents, who had read ordinary articles, when she told them immediately, so she started talking about context.

She says, 'I tell my parents many things. I will try to explain. But mental health was never discussed. Because I myself was ignorant about it.' She told me that she was also suffering from mental health problems only about two months after she started talking about mental health problems. Arpana herself did not believe at first when she told that she had this problem and was taking medicine. However, she says that it took more time to explain to the parents, who became unresponsive for a while after showing them the medicine, that they are fine and that mental health is like any other health problem. Now, Arpana insists that she has no hesitation in saying that she has mental health problems. The doctor has suggested to take medicine for some more time.

Psychiatrists and psychologists say that the number of people seeking treatment is increasing, like Arpana, who are open about their mental health problems. They say that mental health problems have increased after covid-19, but with that, there has been an increase in awareness that this is a mental health problem just like other physical health problems.

It is their experience that awareness about this matter is increasing due to the use of social media, media coverage, and people who are going through problems and speaking openly about their experiences after recovery. Anant Adhikari, director of the mental hospital, says that the number of people coming to the hospital after identifying their own health problems or accepting recommendations for treatment has increased. He says, 'Nowadays, people read, listen and watch about mental health problems on social media and media. If their problems are similar, they come to check or try to understand over the phone.''

Prof. Dr. Saroj Prasad Vajha, head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Problems of the teaching hospital, says that the social stigma is decreasing because of open debates in public circles, public figures or celebrities openly talking about their mental health problems. He says, 'After Covid-19, the debate about it increased. Since the government also started giving priority, public awareness has increased a lot. But more work needs to be done.' According to him, although public awareness is increasing relatively, it is increasing in a very normal way. He says that mental health problems, psychosocial health problems, like other physical health problems, need to be treated, and a large number of citizens still do not have the awareness that they can be cured by treatment, and they need to work for that.

Some time ago, former Miss Nepal and journalist Malvika Subba spoke about the mental health problems experienced by actress Namrata Shrestha before that. They talk openly about mental health problems and even suggest that they should go for treatment as it is similar to other health problems.

Psychologist Govind Dhakal claims that during the lockdown caused by the covid-19 infection, they have played an important role in raising public awareness through social media, online counseling and public awareness programs. He says, 'We have been conducting public awareness programs through online and telephone consultations and social networks since the lockdown, keeping in mind the risks that may arise after the Covid-19. As a result, we were able to spread public awareness to a large extent.

According to Dhakal, since many people can be reached through social media, various organizations working on mental health have used social media and online as a medium to provide counseling and raise public awareness. He says, 'due to such programs, public awareness has increased a lot. Seeking treatment on their own, talking openly has increased.

Psychologist Dhakal says that when public figures speak openly about this issue, it motivates those who are secretly undergoing treatment to open up or take it easy. He says that even though people who stigmatize mental health problems and psychosocial problems are decreasing, it will take time for them to disappear completely. He says, "But seeing the increase in the number of people who talk openly recently, it is slowly becoming normalized." Which is a very positive thing.


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