The moral of ‘Life after Death Bell’
By Beemal Acharya
World Mental Health Day was commemorated on October 10 worldwide, and global actors came forward to educate, advocate and create awareness on mental health issues. Wishing to create awareness among youths on mental health, Beemal Acharya, Program Coordinator at Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Nepal (TPO Nepal), presents this photo story, ‘Life after Death Bell’, by collaborating with social workers—Samundra Guragain and Tobin KC—and Rekha Phago, the 22-year-old model and an actress who had debuted in Nepali film industry with 2017 film ‘Taarebhir’. This real-life story of a girl is re-captured by characters against the plot.
This is Aakriti (name changed), and she has always been living happily with her mom who pampers her a lot. At college, her friends share the moments of their love relationship, but Aakriti feels outlined as she has no such stories to share.
While walking on the street one day, a boy with a blue jacket catches her attention. In the meantime, she hears someone calling the boy. She remembers his name.
Upon reaching her home, she searches for him on Facebook and finds him sharing many mutual friends. She also finds him being her senior. She sends a friend’s request to him.
He accepts her request, and with time, their intimacy grows. They start to chat and talk on video calls. Starting with stories, they start to share emotions, and they start to feel for each other.
Valentine’s Day gives them an opportunity to meet, and in the first meeting, the boy proposes her with a rose and a card. She becomes happy and thinks of sharing the story with her friends. With time, they become emotionally, physically and psychologically connected. They weave a dream of a dream house and even select the names of their babies.
One day, the boy graduates, and he goes abroad for greener pastures. But with time, she starts missing him though the boy continues sharing his updates and emotions with her.
Soon, the boy starts ignoring her. He even starts showing aggressive behavior. So, the girls started getting frustrated. She thinks her dreams are now shattered. She tries to cope up with the situation but fails to handle it. She keeps on expecting calls from the one she loved but to no avail. Now, she starts to ignore love from others too. By this time, her physical, psychological and social activities start to become abnormal. She experiences no sleep and no appetite. Despite this, she prefers not to share how that boy had deceived her.
After a month, she finds him that he had changed his cover picture on Facebook. This time, he was with another girl. Finding this, she attempts to commit suicide, but her mother saves her. Her mother takes her to the hospital seeking for counseling.
Regular psychosocial counseling and medication help her get relief from her pain.
After 12-session counseling spanning over three months, she realizes the value of life over such stupid emotions. Finally, she starts to live happily and helps others to get off from the mental illness.
About Mental Illness
Mental illness affects people of any age, race, religion, or income. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem and suggest that ‘one in three’ or ‘one in four’ people will get to identify the diagnosis of the illness at some point of their lives. According to WHO, Nepal is the third leading country of suicidal death rate among female of reproductive age, and most suicides are associated with mental health problems.
Mental health policy exists in Nepal and was adopted in 1997; however, proper implementation has yet to begin. Besides, there is a lack of enabling environment for proper service implementation: Ministry of Health (MoH) has no coordinating body for mental health treatment, budget allocation for mental health is minimal, while mental health services are concentrated only in big cities (with 0.22 psychiatrists and 0.06 psychologists per 100,000 population. Moreover, there is a lack of psychotropic medicines, mental health supervision system and health works are overburdened.
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.