Mental Well-being: Now and Forever
Dr Jyoti Kapoor states that well-being is defined as a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterised by health, happiness, and prosperity.
Despite its extensive implication, efforts to achieve a state of wellness are often limited to either physical health or financial security. Mental health has recently being understood as the core of all sense of well-being but the shroud of myths and fallacies around the term ‘mental’ prevent people from even discussing the topic, let alone taking advice or treatment for mental disorders.
Manasthali – a mental and emotional well-being platform was thus created by Dr Jyoti Kapoor, a well-renowned psychiatrist in Gurugram with the intent of removing the social stigma associated with the term ‘mental’ and educating people regarding implications of psychiatry in health management.
The initial endeavour took form as a website Psychiatry, several years ago which later took the form of ‘Manasthali (TM)- where mind meets matter’ in order to include all things concerned with the functioning of mind and its influence over one’s physical, social and mental health.
Over 15 years on experience in the field of mental health gave Dr Jyoti Kapoor the insight that unless there is acceptance of mind as a function of brain which is an essential organ system running all physical functions in a body, people will be prevented from reaching their full potential and would continue to suffer despite availability of safe and easy treatment options in the field of psychiatry.
Manasthali and Dr Jyoti Kapoor thus attempt to de-stigmatise the mental health issues by conducting psychoeducation at individual and community level. Social and traditional media are widely used to spread information on commonly occurring psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
The psychological aspects of psychosomatic and other chronic physical ailments are deeply explored and explained for patients and families to allay myths and build confidence in treatment. Group activities and workshops are held at educational institutions and corporate organisations to spread the message that stress management is the only prevention against widespread lifestyle disorders including hypertension, diabetes, hormonal imbalances and depression/anxiety.
At Manasthali, psychological intervention is at the core of all psychiatric treatment. Medical management is planned with utmost regard to individual vulnerabilities with a focus on holistic well-being. An attempt is made to address doubts so that patient and families can be included in the management of problems rather than becoming bystanders to their own issues. During COVID pandemic and consequent lockdown, children and adults alike have suffered from significant mental strain. The stress has impacted people causing anxiety, obsessions, somatic manifestations and behavioural issues.
Tele-psychiatry, a model which was endorsed by Dr Jyoti Kapoor as medical director of TeleChikitsa Ventures India Pvt Ltd in 2013 (which later merged to become Medongo in 2014 to cater to telemedicine technical support for various government and NGO Telemedical services), has become a significantly viable method to reach people who needed help but could not physically approach a mental health specialist.
Since April 2020, with the availability of clear telemedicine guidelines by government and medical fraternity in India, over a thousand clients have been helped till date through online distance consultation approach via Manasthali alone. Relationship issues and parent-child issues have also appeared as major areas of concern in establishing psychological health, especially during the lockdown. Their implications are being addressed widely through social and traditional media and via information material provided at the clinic.
Prevention is the best approach when it comes to health management. Stress in the current lifestyle is a major cause of poor health and disturbance in well being. Stress management along with various domains including the most basic aspects of time management, proper diet, adequate exercise and supportive social ties to more sophisticated mindful spiritual exploration and openness to self-evolution contribute to leading a fulfilling life.
Stress management workshops and advise is one of the primary tools of engagement that can help people develop a better understanding of their problems and empower them to solve the day to day problems that add up to create psychiatric disorders. Setting the right goals and priorities is important to define the path one wants to take, be it on a personal level or in making education, career or relationship choices. All these and more can be discussed with a trusted mental health practitioner to become self-assured in this world of uncertainty and negativity which percolates through every new crisis the world faces.
The faith in medical fraternity needs to be re-established if one wants to deal with the diseases and disorders of the modern world. The need of the hour is to let go of the prejudice against the word fear of the word ‘mental’ and approach mental health practitioners with open hearts to discuss one’s dilemmas and anxieties. Prevention and early intervention can prevent the bigger challenges of Addictions, Depression and Suicide which are ailing the society today.
(Dr Jyoti Kapoor is a senior psychiatrist and psychotherapist in Gurugram and is founder-director or ‘Manasthali- A Mental and Emotional Well-being centre’. She also delves in writing, cooking, fashion and art to express her thoughts and experiences on various topics).