I have been brought up in a society where people with mental illness are referred to as ‘psychoes’ or ‘pagals’ or ‘udhekko’. We are not taught much about mental health in our curriculum and we get to know about it only when one or two of our close ones suffer. Maybe ‘mental’ is the word we all have a misconception about. In a developing country like ours, mental health is regarded as something so ‘severe’ that if you once have it, you can’t get rid of it and have to hear ‘Yo ta pagal ho’ every now and then. Mental issues here aren’t treated rightly. Going to cardiologist, hematologist, neurologist or any other kind of doctor is normal here. But visiting a psychiatrist or a psychologist is something that becomes the ‘talk’ for everyone. We never have to think twice before talking to our parents about having a stomachache or a headache. But we try to make sure our anxiety attacks are something they’ll never hear of. We easily get sick leaves from schools or colleges upon being physically injured but having an anxiety attack in places like those are something that would be considered ridiculous or ‘natak’ as we say it. As important as our physical health is, mental health is essential too. In fact, if you are unhealthy mentally, we can’t be happy physically. Remember the times when you’d be stressed about your exams? So stressed you ended up vomiting! That’s exactly how it is. If you are unwell mentally, your physical health is ruined. As far as I know, mental health hasn’t been something much talked about unless it is a day we celebrate as ‘Mental Health Day’ or somebody takes his or her life away when it’s too much for him to handle in his head. I know that I too am sitting here to write down this very article few days after the suicide of a famous Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput. I didn’t see much articles or posts regarding mental health or anxieties or depression unless the incident happened. But now, my entire feed is filled with awareness regarding how important mental health can be and how important it is to let something out that you’ve been holding up in your head and dealing with it alone. I have been seeing various hash tags or stories regarding ‘Talk to me in case of anything’ or something similar to it. While I appreciate the small efforts made by these people, at the same time I want to remind them to not limit the very idea of reaching out for a week or two. Let no other lives go wasted before we realise and learn to respect the importance of everyone’s mental health. It is not certain that we can totally solve their problems. But we can at least spare an hour or two listening to everything they have to say. While you might think of the problem as something minor, somebody else must be going through a really tough time. Let us try and be the reason of somebody’s smile, let us try and be the reason somebody looks up to a better tomorrow. Let us try and be the reason for someone to give up the idea of ‘quitting’. Every life is precious. Let us try and share smiles and lives with the ones we love.