Kapil Dev’s recent remark on mental health amongst millennials or even generation Z has created quite a stir as this is quite unacceptable especially when he’s hailed as a hero by most of us. This looked quite like a break from the fantasy or fall from grace kind of a situation. Dev’s comment came in as an insolence when he dismissed “pressure” as an excuse to evade academics or even extracurricular activities. However, his stance came in as a stark yet shocking similarity with a distant relative or a neighbourhood uncle’s one-stop solution of “Wake up early and see how it changes your life!” This also unfortunately reminds us of our parents or guardians from the previous generation for whom a discussion on mental health issues or resorting to therapy is something that’s unheard of or worst, a prestige issue.
According to an article, India was one of the most essential WHO member countries to have established its National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982 in accordance with WHO’s recommendations to deliver mental health services. Thus these so-called American terms (as quoted by Kapil Dev) as “depression” “mental health” and “pressure” were acknowledged way before he created history in June 1983.
Various reports suggest suicide amongst the youth or even children is on an all-time high and these invariably end up being so due to “family pressures”; having mentioned that even my childhood back in the late 80s was quite akin to most individuals born and bred that time wherein we were spanked, humiliated or labelled “useless”, “stupid” by the “fees paying parents” and other relations in the household. Not to forget the outburst when one decided to plan an alternate career and not engineering or medical.
According to reports, approximately 13.5 lakh students appear for the medical entrance exam every year for a total of 6,4000 seats. A similar number sits for the JEE for about 10,000 seats across 23 IITs. However, if questioned most of these students do not aspire for the same; mostly it is the family that insists on such an act in order to uphold their prestige amongst their peers.
So it is time that individuals and most importantly public figures who are either celebrated or worshipped like Kapil Dev should be more mindful while making such statements. “Anxiety”, “Depression”, “Stress” or even “Pressure” are not mere terms that one would throw around just like that. The concept of “if you accept the bouquet you must accept the brickbats” is no longer acceptable as times have changed and so have mindset of people.