Sri Sri calls upon people to work towards de-stigmatising mental health illnesses

Bengaluru, May 23 (IANS) Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed a high-level seminar held at the European Parliament in Brussels over mental health issues.

This was organized by the World Forum for Ethics in Business, to find solutions to and discuss the ubiquitous mental health impact of growing global challenges of polarization, social unrest and violence, economic and political uncertainties, and climate change, according to an official release on Tuesday.

The seminar found takers with over 200 participants in attendance including mental health experts, stakeholders, academicians and policy makers and members of European Parliament. Ravi Shankar brought to their attention the fact that conventional methods used to address mental health issues worldwide can be given an added boost by making ayurveda, meditation and breathing a part of it.

Taking the conversation around mental health much deeper, Ravi Shankar, spoke about the incredible benefits of powerful breathing techniques in mental health disorders.

“When the mind is calm and clear, people are better equipped to make informed decisions with an understanding of the interconnectedness of life. The key to accessing this inner calm lies within our own breath. Our breath has the power to regulate emotions and thoughts, reduce anxiety, and eliminate stress and tension,” the spiritual leader said.

Ravi Shankar called upon everyone to work towards de-stigmatising mental health illnesses and the need to build social connections, so no individual who is depressed or undergoing poor mental health feels unattended to.

The context of the session was set by the fact that the world is facing an unprecedented rise of depression, suicide and mental health issues. According to the WHO World Mental Health report published in June 2022, depression and anxiety rose by 25 per cent in the first year of the pandemic, bringing the number of people living with a mental disorder to nearly one billion people.

The global spending on mitigating the mental health crisis has remained insufficient. In 2020, governments worldwide spent an average of just two per cent of health budgets on mental health, with lower-middle income countries allocating less than one per cent. However, poor mental health costs the world economy an estimated $2.5 trillion a year in reduced economic productivity and physical ill-health, and is likely to go up to $16 trillion by 2030.

Ravi Shankar, who is travelling to Europe from the US taking forward his mission of spreading peace and bringing smiles to every face, shared, “It is appalling to see in the last few months, about 600 mass shootings have happened in the US and this is not normal, and the cause for this gun violence in many cases has been found to be poor mental health.”

Santosh Jha, India’s ambassador to Belgium, the EU and Luxembourg, stated, “The problem of mental health has been something that has come to the fore during the Covid pandemic even more at a global level. India is a country which through its ancient forms has had an awareness about it and solutions around it which we are very much willing through our efforts to bring it to the rest of the world.”

He also enlisted the various policy measures and initiatives taken by the Government of India in the area of mental health, including passing the Mental Healthcare Act in 2017.



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