Human mind is mysterious; none could define the nuances of it, though spiritual gurus and psychologists tried to delve deeper into the ways of mind. The Mind still remains as an unsolved puzzle, except that we know mind is related to our brain and has the potential to control our life through thoughts. Buddha said that ‘We are what we think’ and Vivekananda’s words that ‘Human mind has unlimited potential’ pointers to the power of mind over body.
Sigmund Fraud tried to analyse mind in depth, according to him one third of our mind is conscious and the rest is unconscious. Today is world mental health day and the topic is ‘Youth and mental health in the changing world.’ As adolescent’s mental health issue is one of the pressing problems of contemporary society, It is very important to understand the evolution of our personality with regard to this subject. According to famous Psychiatrist Eric Bern, personality of a human being will be shaped within the first five years of life.But another Psychologist Eric Erickson says human mind goes through different stages in its social life and our Identity will be evolved in teenage years. At this stage, we try to know ourselves, society and our role in it, it really points out the pressures teenagers goes through in society and some might even resort to drugs and other sedatives in order to reduce mental pressures and anxiety.
There is a misconception that we inherit mental disorder from our ancestors, but actually our surroundings and the society that we live in have a huge impact on our mental health. Mental health issues are reported mostly in countries having gone through wars, natural disasters etc. As teenage years are of confusion and inconsistency, suicidal tendency is common among them.Erickson defines it as a period of “Psycho social Moratorium” . At this period a person is neither a child nor an adult, this may cause identity crisis and the role in the society leading to subject herself-himself to various experiments might lead to drug abuses or such substance abuses. In most cases, mental health issues begin during teenage years, but often parents fail to figure it out.
The notorious Cadel Jeenson Raja murder case is a classic example of teenage mental disorder where, the visibly calm and polite young man brutally had killed his parents and sister apparently without any reasons. He had shown symptoms of mental disorders during his teenage period but his parents couldn’t realize that. He used to indulge in Astral Projection since his teenage years and according to news reports, he did this heinous crime to bring his dear ones closer in the Astral world. He used to sleep in day time and stay awake at night spending time either on computers or in Astral World. But his educated parents seemed to have completely ignorant of his strange behaviours. So it is very important for parents to notice and get psychological aid if their teenage children exhibit strange behaviours as stay aloof from society, extreme anger, always keeping sad, Insomnia, Spending too much time on computers and Mobiles, Getting home late spending lot of time with friends etc. Depression is the major cause of suicide among teenagers today. Lack of interest in anything, always moody and tired,suicidal tendency etc are the apparent symptoms of Depression. And it is reported to be the main cause of death in the age group of 15-23.
Suicide of youngsters are on the rise in Kerala, the highest literary state, the common reasons reported are educational pressure,failure of Love affairs and other relationship issues. Studies show that Mental resilience is on a decreasing level in today’s youth, it could be compared with the strength of broiler chicken with that of desi chicken. These social worries hold a mirror towards the parenting of modern era. Over pampering and over protectiveness or complete lack of care etc are common among modern parents. Avail everything that child demands, compensate absence of physical care and love with gifts and money, comparing and judging children according to their talents etc are common errors of modern parents and in stark contrast, it could be complete carelessness or physical punishment and mental abuses for some other children.With the over involved, over protective helicopter parents, it gets harder for some children to establish their identity . And such type of parenting would reduce the self confidence in children and would badly affect their personality. Teachers too have their role in shaping up the personality of children.Children of alcoholic parents too may develop mental issues due to negative family environment.
Following guidelines may help prevent increasing mental health issues in our society. Parents must take precautions to avoid mental traumas in children. They should develop a friendly relation and should be approachable to the children, too much punishment would only attract negative result. Children should be allowed to play with friends. Children should be trained in doing their chores by themselves and must grant certain amount of autonomy.
Parents and teachers and society as a whole need to be made aware of mental health issues. Children having trouble in studies must be taught with special psychological care and with modern technological means. Parents should not put pressure on children to take forward the dream that they couldn’t fulfill. Every child is born with special talents and parents and teachers have to find out their potential and encourage the children to flourish in that. Parents must be aware of the friends of their children. Parents, Teachers and children must be given psychological awareness lessons through psychoeducation. Mental health needs to be integrated into school and university curriculum. And psychological screening of children must be implemented at government level in schools and homes.
Courtesy: Seena Joseph