Sadfishing and other mental health trends in 2019

Mental health and emotional well being have definitely been garnering more attention each year in the recent past. Be it a celebrity speaking about their experience with seeking mental health support or Instagram feed being bombarded with posts about mental health awareness. Younger population has taken to using various apps and technology to promote mental and emotional well being. Hashtags are so commonly used that as soon as you browse through any leading app with your desired hash tag, you will find a variety of pages to choose from.

Digital information is fast selling as people have access to it at their fingertips. The taboo associated with seeking help is also slowly diminishing. The millennial generation is moving towards prioritising their mental health by reaching out to seek help in the form of therapy as well as medical intervention if need be. There are apps that helps in self management (app provides feedback to the user for sleep, eating habits, stress levels etc.), for improving cognitive skills (presenting levels to clear that challenges one’s cognitive abilities), tracking the intensity and frequency of anxiety attacks, self help tips (depending on your area of interest, the app can send you tutorials, videos or reading material regularly).

Several schools and colleges this year arranged for talks on mental health and speaking to the younger lot made me realise that educational institutions pay such an immense role in shaping a young child’s mind and making him/ her sensitive towards the importance of mental health and being able to effectively handle one’s own emotions right from an early age. Various independent organisations working in the field of mental health well being have undertaken the task of curating syllabus for schools revolving around mental and emotional health. As the kids start learning Math and Science, learning about how to identify emotions of self and others, managing stress as well as time better are few other things that this syllabus would aim at teaching.

Another trend that this year noticed was during the World Mental Health day, focusing on suicide prevention. The statistics are out there and glaring: every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. This year WHO introduced ’40 seconds of action’ in order to create awareness amongst people about the increasing rate of suicide around the globe as well the role one can play in helping prevent the same. There is an increase in the rate of suicide amongst young adults and the numbers are grim. WHO’s initiative is towards curbing this growing menace.

Depression, anxiety and substance abuse were seen on a rise this year, especially amongst the young population. This has resulted in higher number cases of drop-outs, burnout and in extreme cases quitting of jobs due to immense stress levels and lack of resources to handle it. Corporate organisations are joining hands with mental health service providers for the betterment of their employees. According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, a whopping 20% of the respondents admitted having to quit a job due to mental health reasons.

Though internet use is bringing the world closer it is also paving a way to another growing trend of feeling lonely despite there being so many options and choices to choose from. Loneliness creeps in very silently through reduction in social interactions or merely human interactions which doesn’t involve influx of technology. Calling has been reduced to instant messaging; buying clothes to grocery shopping can all happen at home without really having to move out, impact of globalisation and the geographical distance from people close to us, lack of time due to hectic work schedules are couple of reasons for loneliness setting in. This has also contributed to depression and anxiety amongst the individuals.

Though internet use is bringing the world closer it is also paving a way to another growing trend of feeling lonely despite there being so many options and choices to choose from. Loneliness creeps in very silently through reduction in social interactions or merely human interactions which doesn’t involve influx of technology. Calling has been reduced to instant messaging; buying clothes to grocery shopping can all happen at home without really having to move out, impact of globalisation and the geographical distance from people close to us, lack of time due to hectic work schedules are couple of reasons for loneliness setting in. This has also contributed to depression and anxiety amongst the individuals.

We are almost towards the end of the year and we all may have faced challenges, enjoyed joyous moments, achieved goals, missed a few, lost few people but also forged new relationships, moved houses, left the comfort zone, embraced new roles in life. In the midst of all of this, a lot of us have shown initiative towards mental health well being and reached out for help. It’s okay to not feel okay at times and talk about it, seek relevant and timely help so as to live a richer, fuller and happier day, week, month and year ahead. Happy New Year!