Mental Illness: An Open Secret

It’s all in your head,
Snap out of it, get out of bed.
Why do you have that face all the time?
Do you like to crib, complain and whine?
You have everything you need,
Yet you can’t be happy for a change?
Can you be ‘normal’ and not act strange?

Take a walk, take a shower,
Meet your friends, watch a movie
I guarantee, you will feel better.
But sadly that doesn’t change his feelings, neither do his thoughts alter,
He goes on with his life with a fake smile
Honestly, nothing makes him feel worthwhile.
He is tired of the pretence, as nothing really makes sense.
He tries hard to hide his pain and go about his life
Struggling day in and out with his mental strife.

But, she just got a promotion,
She always smiles, laughs and talks about her ambitions.
No, she doesn’t look sad–
I am sure it’s not all that bad.
How can she be depressed?
Personally, I think depression is a fad
I have never seen her upset or cry
Maybe it’s all just a lie.
You think she is doing it for the attention?
Maybe she wants a day off, or a long vacation?
She always seemed weird to me
Just ignore her, and let her be.
I’ am not sure about the stigma or stereotype
Probably, mental illness is simply ‘over-hyped’.


Believe people when they say they are in pain.
Believe people even when you can’t see or understand what that is.
Observe and notice changes in people’s behaviours
Ask them twice how they truly feel.
Let them know you can lend a non-judgmental ear
Mental illness should be met with treatment, not judgment.
Too many people are labeled ‘mad’ and called unfit
Too many lives are lost due to it.
As long as we treat mental illness like an unspoken curse
The problem will keep getting worse
Let each of us be kinder than we feel
Compassion, empathy and education is the real deal
Together we can make a difference in people’s lives
Truly help them live, laugh and heal.

Moitrayee Das is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at FLAME University, Pune.

World Suicide Prevention Day is marked each year on September 10. If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers ( they can call to speak in confidence. You could also accompany them to the nearest hospital.

Featured image credit: Piyapong Saydaung/Pixabay