Sick society, distressed minds

Where lies the solution to the problem?

A survey by the medical humanitarian organization ‘Medecins  sans Frontieres’ (Doctors without Borders) in collaboration with department of psychology university of Kashmir and the institute of mental health and neurosciences Kerala has concluded into a very grim state of our society. The survey conveys that 1.8 million Kashmiri people making about 45% of valley’s adult population possess significant symptoms of mental distress. Apparently, the results of such surveys are never near perfection because while making such surveys only a sample group of total population is covered. However, by covering thousands of households in almost four hundred villages across ten districts of Kashmir valley the agency has tried to make the survey more broad based and consistent. The findings of the survey are alarming; almost half of the adult population suffers from the varying degree of mental distress! Suicides among adults, particularly the younger generation is common and people have become short tempered, losing their cool over petty issues. Marital discord, broken marriages, and divorce are no more forbidden in our society. Instead most of us consider such desperate acts as remedy to relieve our distressed minds.  What is ailing our society? And where from mental distress plagued our society? Certainly, turmoil of more than two decades has taken its toll heavily and is one of the main reasons behind our distressed minds and ailing society. But, the story does not end here only. Conflict apart, our society is passing through a phase were we are not only rewriting our social norms with the brush of deceit , but while doing so we have torn it apart into pieces that can only be joined either by a complete revolution or some celestial miracle. Poverty, unemployment and certain tattered sensitive social relations put a lot of pressure on our mental ability, pushing our people to the oblivions of distress. Materialism has percolated so deep into our societal order that it dictates its norms. Ego, arrogance and narcissism have become vital assets of our social order.  Conflict within the society is as old as civilization, but in earlier more civilized societies the level of discord was negligible and there were inbuilt ways and means, rather an inherent mechanism to mend any discord. In contemporary era not only the level of conflict has increased manifold, but the whole apparatus of checking and neutralizing disharmony has broken to the level of redundancy. Materialism and ego has ruined the marital system of our society. Healthy marital institutions are important for a vigorous society.  Interestingly, for long the ‘Saas Bahu’ syndrome of discordance within our people is a very old drama that substantially contributes to marital suffering, ultimately leading to mental distress. Earlier the dimensions of this conflict were confined to two important characters of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, but now it has spread its tentacles deep into the system making the institution of matrimony a tedious affair and a major cause of mental distress within our society. Unemployment and materialism play as catalysts in destabilizing the concept and institution of marriage. The present rate of suicides is outcome of overambitious marital aspirations that grow out of our materialistic mindset and huge ego. Corruption the mother of all evils makes us shamelessly desperate while we practise it and later its fallout on our social system manifesting in many ways makes us mental wreck. It is corruption that pushes our ego and arrogance and brings us to the level of senselessness and thus driving the whole society into mental distress.