Mental Wellbeing: Act Now or Regret Later

#BreakTheStigma this Mental Health Awareness Month
Sarah Curtis, OD Solutions Specialist, C2C Organizational Development

May 17, 2023

It’s Mental Health Awareness month, but be it any month of the year, the need to come together as a society to help one another look at mental health from a place of constructive action and not discrimination or fear cannot be underscored more. #BreakTheStigma 


“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation.” -Glenn Close, actor 

Have you ever had a thought, feeling or a fear which constantly haunts you? You can’t stop thinking about it and it plays in a loop in your head endlessly. It drives you crazy and it starts consuming you. You think about it all the time, unable to focus, unable to work, unable to connect with others. You don’t want to open up as you don’t think people will understand, or worse you are embarrassed of what they might say when they find out: “Drama Queen”, “trying to get attention”, “don’t be a weakling”, toughen up and face it”, “don’t act crazy”.  “Life’s hard, deal with it”, “you are not the only one with problems”. 

Sounds familiar? Well, the reality is a lot of us – perhaps much more than we would expect – may be experiencing this. Only in recent times has the importance of mental health become an area of focus. Sadly, there has always been a stigma – both social and personal attached around mental health. Stigma around fear of what people would think and say, the fear of discrimination and devaluation that one could face, or even one’s own internalized thought about negative stereotypes, which could affect self-esteem and confidence in turn leading to a reluctance to seek support.

India has been called "one of the most depressed countries" by WHO. The fact that 6.5% of Indians have a significant mental illness demonstrates how widespread it is.  

Mental health issues don’t come with a big, huge neon sign, but rather, they have a tendency to creep in, rarely showing any physical, visible symptoms. It could begin with signs as simple as irritability, mood swings, or social isolation. 

So many among us are completely clueless and unaware of what mental health issue means, while some of us prefer to remain in a state of denial, thinking: “It’s not a big deal” or "this is just a passing phase". 

We tend to turn a blind eye to all the signs (many not knowing it’s a sign) that we see in ourselves and people around us, blaming situations, people, destiny or just the environment around us, but hold back from doing anything to address it until it’s too late and things have spiraled out of control and life is a mess. 

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to handle and manage this more effectively if we are aware of what signs to look out for? 

Well, here are some signs we can look out for and ascertain whether we need to seek help and support:

  • Increased anxiety or depression and panic attacks
  • Tendency to avoid people and isolate yourself all the time
  • Tendency to lose your cool more than normal 
  • Getting into fights and arguing frequently
  • Big reactions to small incidents or situations where you find yourself reacting in big ways to situations that previously wouldn’t bother you  
  • Getting more emotional (than usual) in your responses or having trouble managing your emotions and finding it difficult to remain calm 
  • Losing your motivation to do things
  • A drop in your performance at work
  • Losing interest and stopping to take care of your physical health 
  • Inability to focus on your work
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of appetite or eating excessively 

Mental health isn't just about having or not having a mental illness. Our well-being is affected by all aspects of our lives, and that, in turn, affects how we experience life, work, and time with our loved ones. Now, more than ever, is when we need to prioritize the subject of mental health and wellbeing.

10 things you can do to improve your mental health

  1. Practise Pranayama or other breathing techniques: Learn a breathing technique to calm your mind and body. This can be done anywhere and you will feel better immediately.
  2. Meditate: It helps us calm our minds, increases focus, and allows us to regulate our emotions better. 
  3. Practise gratitude: Reflecting on what you’re grateful for can bring you back to the present moment, especially if you’re worrying too much about an unknown future.
  4. Exercise: It helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Bring in any form of exercise that you are comfortable with, that gets the energy levels pumping, makes you happy and relaxes you – a walk outdoors, a swim, yoga, cycling, going for a trek, playing a sport. You will feel the immediate difference with expending some physical energy.
  5. Take up a hobby: Take up a hobby which you enjoy – pottery, painting, gardening. It will help you refocus and calm you.
  6. Seek out nature: Natures heals is the common saying. Well, it is true. Just getting out there, getting some air, being outdoors amongst the plants and trees has a therapeutic impact on us all.
  7. Look within: Take time for yourself, maybe start a daily habit of journaling or just sit in silence and reflect inwards and examining your inner landscape, build your self-awareness.
  8. Self-care: Take some ‘me time’ out for yourself. Do something nice, step out, go for a good meal, get a massage, read your favorite book, listen to some music.
  9. Connect: Make an effort to connect with people who truly care about you – friends, family, colleagues. Reach out.
  10. Practice self-acceptance: Accept what you are going through. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Know that its ok to feel what you are feeling. Start to take small steps to make things better.

It is time we come together as a society to help one another through our struggles, show empathy and compassion, look at mental health from a place of constructive action and not discrimination or fear. In time, maybe people will then step out and talk more openly and freely about their struggles in dealing with mental health issues, ask for support and take the necessary steps to deal with it and maybe we can just have a better and healthier world.


Sarah Curtis is a Organizational Development Solutions Specialist who is passionate about creating meaningful human connections. She loves to engage with people at a deeper level to help making a positive impact on their lives, through her coaching and facilitation work. Her areas of expertise include Interpersonal Effectiveness, Cross-Cultural Awareness, Building High Impact Teams and Strategic Thinking.       


'6.5 percent of the Indian population suffers from some form of serious mental disorder', Hindustan Times