How Social Taboos in India Affect Mental Health Treatment?
05 Apr 2023
India is a vast country with a range of cultural beliefs that include social taboos. In some communities, mental health issues are seen as a form of moral deficiency or supernatural punishment. According to the Times of India, “In India, people with severe mental illnesses often turn to temples and shrines, not to doctors.” In many cases, “The foremost reason for India to lose its mental health is the lack of awareness and sensitivity about the issue.”
Samarpan Health offers the best therapy treatment in Mumbai. Our team educates individuals and families to reduce the spread of misinformation and combat stigmas surrounding mental health treatment.
Positive Ways to Educate Families About Social Taboos
Many families avoid constructive conversations about social taboos out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or fear. Educating families and individuals in recovery can help them find healthy ways to discuss socially taboo topics like mental health disorders.
According to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, it is essential for communities "to explore the paradigm of mental health awareness as a means of combating stigma, enhancing prevention, ensuring early recognition, and also stimulating simple and practical interventions within the community."
A few ways individuals and families can reduce stigmas and overcome taboos related to mental health include:
- Spreading factual information and educating themselves about mental health
- Actively listening to individuals struggling with mental health disorders
- Sharing experiences and resources with community members
Social taboos do a disservice to the vulnerable individuals in India who struggle with mental health issues. Ensuring people have access to education and accurate information is the best way to reduce the damage caused by social taboos. Communities that learn to integrate supportive programs improve the physical and mental health of families and individuals struggling with mental health issues. Samarpan Health provides treatment programs that support families and introduce them to healthier ways of viewing mental health.
3 Common Social Taboos Related to Mental Health
In India, there are many different views on mental health and professional treatments. Below are three common social taboos that have affected millions of Indian families.
#1. Avoiding Mental Health Topics to Reduce Fear or Shame
Many people view mental health disorders as something that happens to “other people” and not themselves or their loved ones. Families may avoid conversations about mental health topics out of shame, fear, or embarrassment. However, remaining silent and ignoring these subjects can be just as damaging as social stigmas. Community support services can normalise diagnosis and treatment.
Communities have a responsibility to look after the vulnerable people who experience mental health issues by providing the following:
- Practical support, including transportation to treatment
- Comprehensive mental health screening
- Recovery resources for families and individuals
- Community-based treatment centres
Access to high-quality treatment and support services can mean the difference between recovery and relapse. Communities that ignore the issue because it is considered taboo often have a higher rate of mental health crime and disruption related to undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues.
#2. Social Taboos Related to Moral Character
Religious and nonreligious individuals may connect socially taboo topics like mental health disorders with moral character. However, anyone can experience mental health symptoms regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or caste. Misinformation persists, and often the person experiencing the disorder is blamed for causing the disease.
The potential causes for mental health disorders vary depending on many factors; moral character is not one of them. Mental health issues are not a sign that someone is “bad” or deserves to suffer.
#3. Seeking Treatment Impacts the Whole Family
Family is an important part of Indian culture. However, for some individuals seeking treatment is considered taboo because their community may perceive it as an indication that something is “wrong” with the individual's entire family. Families can overcome this challenge by providing emotional support to each other and seeking professional help.
Multigenerational trauma and mental health issues can be difficult to overcome if only some family members get the help they need. Multiple family members may benefit from attending treatment or participating in the recovery process. Reducing the stigmas and taboos related to mental health treatment can ensure more people in India have access to life-changing care and recovery support services.
Overcoming Social Taboos and Stigmas Related to Mental Health
The general population may not be aware of how comprehensive treatment programs like the ones offered at Samarpan Health can help their loved ones find healthy ways to manage their condition. Instead, they may share misinformation found on social media or from other sources.
Our facility provides mental health education to try and minimize the risk that clients may see their disorder as something taboo or stigmatized. Self-acceptance improves the effectiveness of therapy and other treatments, reducing the risk of further behavioural or mental health issues.
Every country has certain taboo subjects and social stigmas that interfere with an individual's ability to get help for mental health disorders. Mental health disorders are often misdiagnosed, underreported, or treated using outdated methods. Samarpan Health, one of the top treatment centres in India, embraces modern evidence-based treatments, including psychotherapy, to help clients and their families recover from the damage caused by mental health issues. Our team of experts guides clients through the recovery process and introduces positive ways to manage symptoms. Our facility helps clients engage with others to reduce the spread of misinformation and taboo topics. To learn more about our treatment programs and services, call us today at +91 81809 19090.