Today, mental health is a global concern, and India is no exception to it. It has been observed that progress related to mental health is comparatively slower in developing and underdeveloped economies than developed countries. In 1954, the first Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Brock Chisholm, had very aptly stated: “Without mental health there can be no true physical health.” Thus, exploring the paradigm of mental health awareness is extremely crucial as it entails combating the stigma associated to it, enhancing prevention, ensuring early recognition, and also stimulating simple and practical interventions within the community. Our project is essentially an online dissertation study that focuses on young adults (ages 18-24) in India and their inclinations towards seeking help when it comes to mental health issues, particularly depression, given the fact that it is the most common reason behind suicidal instincts among young adults.
Wikipedia defines mental health literacy as “"knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention. Mental health literacy includes the ability to recognize specific disorders; knowing how to seek mental health information; knowledge of risk factors and causes, of self-treatments, and of professional help available; and attitudes that promote recognition and appropriate help-seeking." In most cases, teenagers and young adults are unaware of the the signs and symptoms of depression, which leads to the delay or avoidance in help-seeking for mental health treatment. Contrary to other studies conducted in this field previously, our study will also include non-students (young adults who are not attending any school or college) along with students, since they have been grossly understudied in mental health owing to their inaccessibility compared to students enrolled in schools or colleges.
It is pivotal to assess the extent of knowledge that young adults possess about mental health issues before formulating any health programs of interventions for the same. This is because when we have an insight into their psyche and their thought process, it becomes easier to target the root of the problem and treat it accordingly. Once the youth are aware about the basics of mental health, they will be more inclined towards opening up about their problem and seeking proper professional help. We believe that our project can lay the foundation for better and enhanced mental health treatment in the future.
Our online dissertation study is a cross-sectional design of young adults (ages 18-24) who live, work, and/or attend school in India. Targeting the Indian youth, we will study the extent of their knowledge mental health issues, their willingness to open up about it, their inclinations towards seeking help, their views about mental illnesses, and so on. We also seek to test the theory of planned behavior in help-seeking intention for depression with suicide.
Like every other online study, our project too will involve both advertisement and outreach costs. Also, we need to hire a social media intern who’ll be designing our website and co-assist in managing our social media handles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). We will make use of print advertisement and social media tools to capture the attention of the audience/netizens. Apart from that, we will also need to gather a team of youth helpers who will be assigned the duty of distributing postcards and flyers as part of the community outreach program across various neighborhoods in the country. So, we need adequate funds to pay the intern and youth helpers. We’re counting on you for helping us in materializing this project!