The unrelenting social, political and economic upheaval has setoff both mass mental health crisis and clamor for panacea
It has been an established fact that Kashmir is embellished by a vibrant and mesmerizing culture with its people having the world’s best hospitality and attributesof saintly aura. The acme of development and stability of any civilization is notactually ostensible by the concrete skyscrapers, nuclear arsenal and macadamized roads but it is reckoned by the congruent character, placid mental health, facetious social behaviorand empathetic approach of living of its inhabitants. The development in the areasof infrastructure, communication and technology is futile and often bogged downif the people are on the verge of mental instability, depression and the victims of demonism. In Kashmir,it has been nearly four decades of mental fatigue, anxiety,discomfort and sense of fear that many generations have gone through by the unabated and ruffling circumstances circumambulating the social milieu in everycorner of valley.It can be elucidated and highlighted by the report published in the Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry (2017) that“In Kashmir, mental illness patients mostly rely on bio-medications and the evidence for bio-medical model was corroborated by the fact that 11% of Kashmiri adults were taking benzodiazepines and suicide rate was 3 per 100000”. At present, the condition is further aggravating and inexorably coercive by the exorbitant increase in the number of patients suffering from mental depression, anxiety, awry social behavior and PTSD. Another offshoot of this problem can be seen by the perpetual rise of drugaddiction of a large number of people whether it is multiple substance abuse, taking cannabis or opium, alcohol or other volatile solvents. However, no single cause can solely be held responsible for this squandering quagmire and mammoth calamity of mental health crisis.
Hard realities of decades and the way forward
Now years have passed by and turmoil’s have shaken and devastated us from the core of our existence and evolution. Prior to every catastrophe and antediluvian, a series of tremors and concomitant changes in the social, political, economic and health aspects of societies disinter and surface up. Among the various aspects of human existence, mental health is one of the most important factors that determine the existing as well as future well being of a society. But the fact lies here that Vale of Kashmir is on the verge of becoming the hub of mental health crisis if the proper modusoperandi is not put forward at this crunch time. The simmering political, economic and social turmoil’s of decades have undermined the mental wellbeing of the people.
Sometimes things seem to be quite pacifying that a person forgets all the wounds of disturbance and violence but as the gloom prevails, whole ordeal of ongoing and erstwhile conditions becomes the nightly conversation of every family. Each night, parents become the tutors and accentuate their children how to avoid the ill-omen repercussions of political bluffing, conflicts, obfuscation of moral degradation and war like situations. No parent feels safe and content that their wards would be alive tomorrow or without anypathetic and epic condition that would not crunch them mentally, socially or economically in the near future. This all has been snowballing in minds and hearts of generations and ultimately a catastrophe has struck us from many decades with its full potential in terms of mental illness, depressions, anxiety, drug addiction and more importantly suicides. No doubt there could be otherlatent reasons for this conundrum but there is a behemothic and concomitant relationship between the unbridledmental health crisis and the prevailing situation in the valley. Succinctly, one of the important underlying causes of this whole unstable andenigmatic predicament can be attributed to thepolitics of picaroons who in the name of development have lootedpeople and madethem vulnerable to economic bankruptcy and mental illness bytheir skullduggeryand contrived manifestos. All these years, every adult, women, child and even an infant is the victim of thisunconscionable politics and so the coercive approach of so called epitomes of truth and harbingers of peace.
It is a scientifically proven fact, that the children born in the conflict zones often become the victims of mental disorders and anxiety. Their mental development remains at halt although they seem to be growing physically and thisgrueling scenario can be easily perceived in every niche of valley. From many years, economic packages, rehabilitation schemes and much more on the name of pacifying the situation in valley has been announced but the least care has taken of the budding generations and the mental disturbance they are going through either because of domestic issues, employmentissues, aspiring of a peaceful life having all the rights of existence as a human being or by the tumultuous circumstances due to political or economic up downs that directly or indirectly arson the mental peace of the youth. All the fingers cannot be raised against the bloated bureaucracy or authorities but as asociety we have been the doers of fratricides and often the paradigm of schadenfreude.It is a crystal clear truth that whole world is rushing towards the space age and many nations are spearheading in the realms of science and technology, health and education, infrastructure, connectivity and communication. But in the valley the whole scenario becomes counterproductive and futile because we are loosing the cream of our society to violence, coercive dungeons, mental stresses, and now to be more oft-cited suicides and depressions. Social,psychological,political, economic, cultural and other factors can lead a person to a suicidal behavior, but the stigma attached to mental disorders and suicides is that many people are unable to seek help and guidance at the time of need. Despite the evidence that many deaths are preventable, suicide is too often a low priority for government and policy makers.
To ameliorate and cope up with this strangulating and pernicious situation, it becomes the fundamental and moral responsibility of every citizen whether parents, teachers, doctors, social activists, bureaucrats, policy makers, police officials as well as government to change their approach and way of dealing with the people affected by this recalcitrant and unamenable health issue.
Parents should show indomitable will and approach to talk with their wards, listen to their latent pressure of career, social relationships and more importantly their way of dealing with these awry situations of political and livelihood instability. Policy makers, bureaucrats and other civil officials must show and depict a youth friendly approach and design the policies that nurture the development of youth in every field of life rather than forcing them to be the doers or victims of violence, depression and other mental health related problems. This ongoing pandemic has further compoundedthe mental health issues and quadrupled the rate of suicides in our valley and it can be said with euphemism that not a single modusvivendi or an approach has been put forth to deal with this ruffling situation.More importantly parents, teachers, police and social workers should be aware that more extreme, difficult, pre delinquent/delinquent behaviours require not punishment but psychological, spiritual and often psychiatric help. If possible, we must find comprehensive alternatives to locking up the youngsters as it is a very serious violation of their human dignity and rights. To sum up, it can be said that at the heart of this pathetic state of affairs is the complete lack of accountability of either public or private sector, and the absence of stewardship role of state in ensuing justice and quality of health care for all its citizens.
(Author is the student of Faculty of Agriculture,SKUAST)