Wed. Jul 8th, 2020

Listening and communication is the key to mental health

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By Pyusha Chatterjee Singh

Suicide is a message that says ‘I want to live’ and not ‘I want to die,’ believes Dr Pallavi Bhatnagar, professor, department of psychology, Lucknow University.

Pallavi, who runs an NGO named Swasti Society for Mental Health and Counselling, says that ‘listening’ and ‘communication’ is a very important tool to deal with people having suicidal thoughts.

With the recent news of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide, the nation is talking explicitly about mental health, depression and anxiety at large but this has been a problem since times immemorial. Pallavi says, “India has always been a very disease conscious country with a low priority to mental health. It’s the pandemic that has brought a sense of awareness among people. They are engaging in positivity exercises to keep a balance between their mental and physical health as it is circular.” She adds that it is during these tough times that people are getting mentally equipped and engaging in social adjusting.

Pallavi, who has brought counselling to a common man’s life, has herself undergone therapy to understand ‘transactional analysis’ better.

In a country, which has the highest suicide rate in South East Asian region, as per World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health gets least importance. With numerous articles floating on the internet about ‘sharing’, people tend to forget the real solution which is ‘listening.’

She says that there should be more help lines for reaching out to youngsters because they are the most vulnerable lot. It is quite evident because after the death of the 34-year-old- actor many teenagers have committed suicide. On this she says, “Youngsters are very impulsive. They live their life through their heroes idealising them to a large extent. Once they are gone, they can’t see anything beyond them. There’s a vacuum in their lives which cannot be filled.”

She adds that parents have to be very cautious regarding their children. These days people get very little time to communicate due to their busy lives which is not right at all. They need to communicate if they see something even slightly wrong. She says that one of her clients had attempted suicide 14 times at the age of sixteen, with her mother getting to know only the last time.

She adds that it is very important that the ‘moment of impulse’ gets delayed. She says, “I have been thanked by people who were able to overcome those difficult moments after sharing their troubles with me, which shows that they really wanted to live but it was just that they were finding it difficult to do so.”

She says that when people cut their wrists, they gain relief from the agony inside them seeing the pool of blood.

It can be can be said that many people decide to end their lives due to financial crisis, health issues and so on but what about people who do not seem to have any issue at all the superficial level. She says this is because of relationship conflicts majorly. The communication channel is blocked and so it is very important to keep a check on people with dysfunctional families and troubled relationships.

Expressing her wish regarding a ‘mental health movement,’ she says there are so many movements related to animals, greenery and so on, why not something on mental health and emotion. There should be a channel where people can confide their feelings and emotions without the fear of it being disclosed. Trust is the most important aspect related to mental health.