Happy Mind is an online forum consisting of Facebook and Instagram pages that was created during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in April with the objective of driving the charge in raising awareness surrounding mental health complications. Happy Mind aims to develop a culture of compassion towards people that suffer from mental health illnesses in the country. Since its launch they have managed to reach over half a million people and have educated thousands of people in various mental health complications. They have identified clinical cases via many messages received from page visitors and have connected them directly to trained and qualified health professionals.
Why is Mental Health a growing concern?
The World Mental Health Day was last week (10th. Oct) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, every 1 in 4 people suffer from invisible yet torturous mental health illnesses around the world. 450 million people are global victims of ill-health and disability due to this, which could push individuals to even commit suicide. Raising awareness and creating discussion is vital as there has been a significant rise in younger people dealing with poor mental health, all of which have worsened over the pandemic.
Research conducted by Harvard Medical School outlines the following factors as indications of poor mental well-being; episodes of depression, psychosis, anxiety and stress along with loss of social support are a few to mention. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine highlights; in 2017, 30.44% patients were diagnosed with depressive disorders, 13.39% with mental disorders related to anxiety. Simultaneously, the WHO recognises Sri Lanka to have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This proves that awareness, conversation and creating an environment to mitigate these illnesses is vital.
Speaking on the launch of the online forum Kushan Randeni, Founder of the Happy Mind initiative, said “We want to educate the general public on the importance of mental health and its complications. By doing this we hope to have a direct impact on reducing the stigma related to mental health in the country. In 2020, the scare of the pandemic looming over us, I observed a rise in mental health illnesses, with people getting anxious and fearful of contracting the virus, economic uncertainty, strain on marital relationships and stress upon children due to disruption in play and limited social interactions.”
“We want to advocate the importance of ‘Happy Mind, Happy Life’. In order to combat the rising mental strain during this time, we first shared the WHO material on ‘Coping with Stress during Covid-19 outbreak’ and ‘Helping Children cope with stress during Covid-19’. This gained significant traction and positive feedback from the community, endorsing the impact Happy Mind was having for mental well-being.” Added Kushan.
“Mental Health Illnesses are not a personal failure; however, failure does arise if the response to it is poor. We want to build a system which eradicates stigmatisation, discrimination or any form of non-acceptance of mental health illnesses. We want to build a system which encourages positivity, a culture of compassion for a community and a future of physically and mentally healthy people.” further added Kushan, describing the plan for the future.
Focus groups for different groups of mental health complications, workshops, and various therapeutic art events to awaken the creative senses are few steps they wish to take further. The sole purpose of these events will be to drive awareness surrounding the seriousness of mental health in our country, support people to keep their mind calm and learn more about themselves; to fill in for the lack of urgency and misinformation making this topic ‘taboo’.
Happy Mind wishes to be the forefront of spreading positivity among the general public and help those facing mental health illnesses to reach out and get help, so they can live a healthy life.
For more information, WhatsApp Happy Mind – 777336970