UPSC MAINS SOCIOLOGY SYLLABUS
Paper 2 – Section C – (vii) Challenges of Social Transformation:
Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.
Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
Violence against women.
Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.
Illiteracy and disparities in education.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
WHAT IS MARGINALIZATION ?
The Oxford English dictionary definition of marginalisation is: “To render or treat as marginal; to remove from the centre or mainstream; to force (an individual, minority group, etc.) to the periphery of a dominant social group; (gen.) to belittle, depreciate, discount, or dismiss.” The term is increasingly replacing and/or being associated with other similar terms which you may be more familiar with, such as ‘vulnerable groups’, ‘seldom heard groups’ or ‘hard-to-reach groups’.
RELEVANCE OF THE ISSUE
Minorities and stigmatised groups are disproportionately affected by stressors, and the prevalence of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are higher among them as compared to the general population. An individual’s social identities, such as their gender, religion, caste, and sexuality, operate simultaneously to either enhance or constrain their life experiences at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. An individual’s well-being cannot exist in a vacuum, it is tied to the systemic and structural bodies that we interact with, be it at the level of the government, policy, law, police, education, or economy. Moreover, many people with mental illness experience shame, ostracism, and marginalisation due to their diagnosis, and often describe the consequences of mental health stigma as worse than those of the condition itself.
MENTRAL TRAUMA FACED BY MARGINALISED SECTIONS
The effect on the mental health of disadvantaged communities is disastrous and leads to non-pathological distress and mental health problems in minority communities.
It also worsens pre-existing problems, for example, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, health problems, humanitarian aid related problems and anxiety due to financial problems, economic disparities, political subjugation, family separation, etc. This could also lead to increased violence against women and girls especially those that come from minority communities.
On an emotional and psychological level, individuals can feel isolated from the social fabric of their larger communities and can feel a sense of paranoia, which is a function of how they might be perceived and treated by others.
They experience a range of societal abuses, including barriers to health care, lack of employment, difficulty accessing and maintaining adequate housing, and discrimination.
Some marginalized groups are also at higher risk for suicide and self-harm.
There is also a mistrust of mental healthcare services among minoritized ethnic groups, owing to the history in mental healthcare, which involves the categorization of cultural differences as mental illness.
RECTIFYING THE SITUATION
Mental health of marginalised communities such as daily wage earners, persons with disabilities, women, children, Dalits, Adivasis and people living in conflict areas therefore need focused attention from providers and policymakers of mental health services. A psychosocial approach to mental health care provision includes enhancing access to education, legal aid, public distribution systems, housing, healthcare and other social entitlements. Mental health support for marginalised communities involves understanding the unique stressors that the community experiences, and designing interventions accordingly. Mental health needs to be given a priority within the government by firstly providing adequate budgetary allocations, and secondly, providing services not just through the primary health center but also integrating mental health service delivery within all the health programmes, for example, maternal health, SRHR, TB, HIV/AIDs, etc.