Physical and Mental health are two sides of a coin and both are equally important for a person’s health and well-being. And, like our bodies, our minds can also become unwell. People do not hesitate to go to doctor and get treatment when they become physically sick. Moreover, there is lot of awareness about one’s physical health and many of us know about Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cancer, Cholesterol etc. Moreover, people are also becoming aware of the importance of physical fitness, prefer to eat healthy food and join gyms or walk in parks to protect their physical health. However, physical health is not complete without adequate Mental Health. Do we know about mental illness’ like Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia etc. Mental illness is very common than anyone could imagine and can affect almost anyone without any discrimination. The research states that 1 in 4 persons may have mental illness and yet less than 20 percent seek treatment.

Just as physical health problems can lead to mental distress (stress, depression, anxiety), mental health disorders can impair physical health. Excessive anxiety and stress can contribute to physical problems such as heart disease, ulcers, and colitis. Mental distress can also reduce the strength of the immune system, making people more vulnerable to conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. Psychological problems also increase the likelihood that people will make poor behavioral choices which can contribute to medical problems. Smoking, excessive alcohol or drug use, poor eating habits, and reckless behavior can all result in severe physical problems and the need for medical services.

Just imagine a broken arm due to accident, can it become alright without surgery?? But, mental issues are mostly ignored, just because it is not visible! Only severe mental illnesses’ are brought to the attention of the Psychiatrist/Psychologist, as it causes visible distress to the patient and those around him. However, other mental disorders are usually ignored and people live with the pain caused by it with many other repercussions. Untreated mental illness’ affects the person’s health, family as well as work life and may also lead to divorce, suicides, and also homicides.

Researchers have found that 70 percent of primary care visits stem from psycho social issues. While patients typically present with a physical health complaint, data suggest that underlying mental health or substance abuse issues are often triggering these visits. Unfortunately, most primary care doctors are ill-equipped or lack the time to fully address the wide range of psycho social issues that are presented by the patients.  When both mental and physical problems co-occur, doctors typically focus solely on the physical complaint and the cycle of illness continues. However, if the mental health problem gets addressed, many patients report improvements in their physical health.

Our body is vulnerable to infections, accidents and other diseases due to pollutions, epidemy etc. Similarly, our mind is also more susceptible to various factors like bullying at schools, family conflicts, work stress, various relationships issues etc. The mounting globalization, modernization, and the deterioration of joint families, support system and poor life style patterns profoundly impact the mental health of an individual. Unlike olden days, children today are glued to technology and do not socialize with other children. Moreover, the academic pressure (“more study and no play”) in schools impedes the personality development of the children. As a result the children of today are not resilient and have fragile self which is easily vulnerable to even little amount of stress.  It is quite obvious that stress is inevitable in today’s life style and imagine what happens to the mental health of children raised in the present scenario.

Mental health is key to our well-being. We can’t be truly healthy without it. It involves how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us. Mental health is about realizing our potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, and making a contribution to our community. World Health Organization has defined health as, “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease”. This highlights the importance of much neglected mental health. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illnesses. Mental health strengthens and supports our ability to, have healthy relationship, make good life choices, maintain physical health and well-being, handle the natural ups and downs of life and discover and grow toward our potential. Mental health at workplace is also associated with higher productivity, better performance, more consistent work attendance, and fewer workplace accidents.

So, it is important to be aware of various mental health issues and its symptoms. The early intervention can significantly improve one’s well-being and enhance the quality of life for the sufferer as well as his/her family.

Why can’t one ignore Mental Health?

  1. Better Physical Health
  2. Improved Productivity and Financial Stability 
  3. Less Strain on the Family
  4. Avoidance of Crime and Victimization
  5. A Longer, Happier Life 

Author: Dr. Chitra Aravind, M.Phil., Ph.D

Consultant Psychologist – (RCI Certified)
O. No. 23A/ N. No. 105A, Sivan Kovil Street,


Chennai – 600 024

Phone: + 91 44 24881123

Mobil + 91 9566075475