Tags: English Books
Mental Health AND YOU
Quite frankly, my goal in writing this book is to enlighten the educated class of citizens on certain basic principles of mental health. Mental health has been taken for granted too much and for too long in our country.
This is in sharp contrast to how it is treated in developed countries. To most people, mental health at best is a nebulous concept with an uncanny aura of mysticism. To an average person, the thought or suggestion of ‘mental health’ is instantly followed by the image of a floridly insane patient whom they have seen wandering, may be naked, on the streets. Consequently, the immediate response is one of fear, repulsion and rejection. However, such a response is born out of ignorance on the part of the individual as well as socially conditioned prejudice.
The goal of this book is to ensure a better understanding of the subject which would result in peace and harmony. When individuals are at peace with themselves and in harmony with others, happiness for the individual as well as the community results automatically. In the ultimate analysis, the aim of man is to live peacefully and happily. The practice of the principles of mental health would enable him to achieve this. Thus it is clear that the vistas of this book extend far beyond mere treatment of the mentally ill.
No one denies the importance of health as a sine qua non for happiness. Nevertheless, when we think or talk of health, we tend to equate health only with physical health. What we forget is that the physical health is but one among the many means to mental health. Apart from physical health, social health is another equally important contributory factor towards mental health. In spite of this, the significance of mental health in human life is not understood or appreciated by most of us.
A curious social phenomenon in our country is that, even though the community sympathizes with the physically injured or physically ill, it pays little attention or sympathy to the emotionally hurt or emotionally sick. In fact, these deserve greater attention and care.
It is a sad fact that various official and non-official agencies which are or ought to be directly or indirectly concerned with the management of mental health in our country have been extremely tardy in the planning and implementation of relevant mental health programmes. There is a yawning gap between the actual need and the available mental health facilities both in the urban and the rural areas. The main reason for this is the lack of awareness about mental health among people in general and the policy makers in particular. In this book, I have endeavoured to explain the nature and scope of mental health with the intelligent and curious layman in mind. If it helps to satisfy the intellectual curiosity of the reader, I shall consider my effort really fruitful. If it helps to stimulate the leaders, planners and administrators to take a fresh look at the old problem of management of mental health in our country, I shall consider my effort really worthwhile.
I express my deep gratitude to Dr. Pratap C. Reddy, eminent physician and cardiologist in Chennai, who is also the Chairman of Apollo Hospitals, for writing the foreword for this book. I am also most grateful to Prof. P. Narendran, a well-known teacher, researcher and neurosurgeon, for introducing this book to you. I feel that the interest Dr. Pratap C. Reddy and Prof. P. Narendran have shown in this book inter-alia signifies the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach and the interdependence of various medical specialities in the practice of modern scientific medicine.
The article titled “The Destiny of the Mind and Its Well-being”, written by Srikant, a well-known psycho-spiritual inquirer and writer, is a valuable addition to this edition. Exploring the psycho-spiritual dimension of man in understanding health and diseases, particularly for the management of psychiatric disorders, has been a topic close to my heart for some years. I am grateful to Srikant (the penname of K.B. Nair) for kindly contributing this stimulating article.