Telangana

Mental health issues should be destigmatised, says Harvard professor

Harvard professor Vikram Patel and CCMB Director Rakesh Kumar Mishra at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

Harvard professor Vikram Patel and CCMB Director Rakesh Kumar Mishra at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: KVS Giri

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Social media has a pernicious influence on impressionable minds, says Dr. Vikram Patel

Suicides rates among the young in India is highest in the world and it is more pronounced in the more socially advanced southern states when compared to the north as recorded in National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and other studies, hence society at large should be concerned and initiate proactive measures, said Vikram Patel, honorary professor, Pershing Global Health & Wellcome Trust principal research fellow at the Harvard Medical School, USA.

Everyone should take serious note of this phenomena on why the young people in age group of 15-30 find the situation hopeless to take their own lives. Plus, it is more prevalent among the girls. De-stigmatising mental ill-health, engaging them to open up and helping them find the solutions would go a long way in understanding the restless adolescence when the brain is still developing, he said.

Puducherry had the highest rate of suicides among youth with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Telangana not far behind. “It is interesting why suicides rates among young is less in Bihar, maybe it could do with aspirations and opportunities too,” Dr. Patel pointed out.

Delivering the CSIR-CCMB Foundation Day lecture on ‘Transforming mental health globally through science and action’ here on Tuesday, he gave a fascinating insight into the research he has been doing in the field of mental health of the young and said adolescence brain makes them prone to ‘act without thinking of consequences’.

“What scientists discovered recently, Walt Disney knew it decades ago as his movies showcase how the restless adolescent animal or human being as in ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Lion King’ acts. Earlier, it was just the family and the peer group but now social media too can have a pernicious influence,” he explained.

Social environment, childhood experiences, discrimination, violence, peer pressure, etc., could lead to mental health problems. Solution to tackle this crises, which has now even hit the US and UK, is to provide for ennobling conditions at home, access to mental health care at schools and colleges and even work places for youngsters to open up and talk about what stresses them and help them identify solutions.

“Unfortunately, there is no bio-marker to identify those with mental health issues. We all go through different mental states of mind. Actually, when you help others, you are helping yourself,” he concluded. Earlier, CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra gave a presentation of recent studies and said the institute would collaborate with Dr.Patel to initiate studies on mental health genomics to to understand predisposition of mental illnesses.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 7:32:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/mental-health-issues-should-be-destigmatised-says-harvard-professor/article30089972.ece

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