India as a nation can be understood not simply from the social action and social reality that is reproduced everyday by the people but in fact it must be studied and analysed as an object of study that indulges deeply with ideology. Ideology is the study of ideas. It is essential to not just study these very ideologies but also to place them accurately in the structures that shape the way people act in response to them. That is to say that, if one wishes to critically analyse the stigmas that are attached to mental health, it becomes imperative to trace these stigmas historically, culturally and socially.
Power and control is essentially weaved into the way in which society operates. How this can be connected to health is indeed interesting. With the increased technology that effectively has transformed the manner in which diseases and their treatments are viewed. In the rise of these discoveries and the medical advancements, in today’s time we can exercise a certain amount of control over our health. The difference between the physical and mental illnesses becomes much more evident in this scenario. Mental health and the mind still remains a largely mysterious and unknown entity. Consequently, people have the tendency to avoid such circumstances and this fits perfectly in the case of mental health.
The process goes on further as this ideology regulates social action as mental health transform into a stigma that is reproduced by everyone. This drastically alters the way health and illness is viewed and treated. Historically, there has been a prestige attached to intellectual and mental labour as it is put on a pedestal. Given that, it is surprising to witness such a radical difference in outlook.
However, there has been a positive change that’s slowly and gradually taking place across the nation. The reach is still narrow but it stems from a strong voice which strives to echo. The greater idea is to refuse all categorical labels that are attached by taking little steps. The idea is to normalise and create a free space for people to address these issues. The idea is to give mental health the kind of attention that it has been systematically deprived of.
Such a change, though it’s a long process, must start at some point. The tools to enable change are usually so much closer than we perceive and it starts with attaining a consciousness that pushes one to question the opinions that present themselves as original but have been successfully internalised. As a generation, we are living in a time when knowledge is abundant and the means to acquire it is accessible to most people. We must engage ourselves with such texts that educate us and challenge. We must lend an ear and move away from the restrictions that are imposed and created by us. The change is now and it is no longer acceptable to stay uninformed. Embrace this change and let it embrace you.