Everyone is entitled to have an identity of their own; it shows who you are, and what you stand for. But what happens when the identity itself poses a threat to your mental health?
There exists a history of people who have been subjected to inequality in Indian society - this is due to societal stigmas relating to sexuality, caste, religion and others. They fall under the category of marginalized identities, and are at an increased risk of mental health problems. They face issues such as discrimination, victimization, phobia, social exclusion, and others. The fundamental rights of marginalized communities are denied and their very existence is questioned, which leads to crimes of varied nature against them.
Reading about the problems they face and sympathizing with them will not suffice. We need to understand that as a result of being ignored and having feelings of invisibility, they experience mental health issues ranging from depression, fear, mood swings, and anger. As a society, it is our responsibility to be wary of the role we play in contributing to our fellow human beings' mental health.
How can we contribute to better mental health of the people of marginalized identities?
->Instances of oppression happen everyday, educating yourself and creating awareness helps reduce your ignorance.
->Use politically correct terms while referring to marginalized communities; slurs and other derogatory statements are completely unacceptable. Apologize and correct yourself when you make a mistake.
->Talk to your friends, family and (most importantly) children, so that they create further awareness.
->Understand the intersectional nature of discrimination and disadvantages faced by marginalized communities; remember that mental health is a necessity, not a privilege.
->Community specific issues should not be appropriated by the rest of the population.
->It is not the responsibility of marginalized people to educate us on their struggles, the onus lies with the privileged.
->Pass the mic; give away your platform for them to become the center of attention.