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Community development: How having a close-knit community can help with mental issues.

WE ARE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”- Mother Teresa. We often forget that man is a social animal and at one point or another, he seeks the approval of others. No matter how much we try to neglect others and the opinion of others, in the end it bothers us. And why is that? Isn’t it because we care? And why do we care? It’s because we need others to be around us and vice versa.

This notion can be further verified by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. His theory states that there are 5 stages of needs placed in order. The needs are as follows:

  • Physiological needs – Necessities such as food and shelter


  • Safety needs – The willingness to protect the basic needs and safety of oneself.

  • Needs of being belonged and being loved – The urge to seek the approval and the love of others.

  • Self Esteem needs – Trying to achieve certain goals to raise the status of oneself.

  • Self Actualisation needs – The period in life where everything that can be achieved, has been achieved. This is where people go out of their way to seek challenges.

According to Maslow, no ‘need’ can be skipped. It all starts with Physiological needs and ends with self actualisation needs. Everything else lies in between and step by step we progress to the next stage. Perhaps we need only to notice the third ‘need’. After receiving the necessities of life, and ensuring the safety of those necessities, we inevitably seek the approval of others. And everything we do thereafter is to solidify our relationships with those around us. This shows us that we cannot do without the love and adoration of those around us, and they without ours.


PERKS OF BEING A CLOSELY- KNIT COMMUNITY

Research has shown that socialising with the community can help with mental health. According to Medical News Today's office, people find comfort in social interaction. This can help create a strong bond between the residents of a community and provides a sense of togetherness.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of being a closely-knit community is - having strength in numbers. Any issue which concerns the community can be dealt with promptly and swiftly. For instance, an issue with sanitation and cleanliness of the community isn’t just one person’s problem – it’s everyone’s problem. This is a kind of situation that brings the community together against a common issue.

HOW ALL OF THIS IS CONCERNED WITH MENTAL HEALTH

According to the observation of the late great Mother Teresa, the greatest disease in the West isn’t Tuberculosis or leprosy but the disease of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. Physical injuries can be cured by medicine but the medicine to the scars of loneliness and hopelessness is love. She says that the Western world is a poor place, perhaps not in terms of wealth but terms of togetherness. People don’t communicate with each other; they often ignore the presence of others and fail to unite as a community, which is why there are so many cases of mental health issues and depression in the West. She stated that India is a country that might not be wealthy in terms of riches but the bonding between the people of their respective communities is what makes India rich. Despite being so diverse, the people of India find a way to unite.

This observation by Mother Teresa was decades ago. Since then a lot has changed, in the world and India. India has adopted various practices from the West, which also might include us being distant from each other despite belonging to the same community. The cases of mental health issues in India have risen drastically. The WHO has labelled India as the world’s most depressing country between 1990 to 2017. Every one in 7 people from India have suffered from mental illness during this period according to their study.

India adopting the Western style of living and the rising cases of depression is not a coincidence. We as humans have become more private and reserved than ever before. We hardly have time in our lives to socialise with those in our communities; this was not the case post-independence. A good example to suggest this theory – earlier the youth would be thrilled with the idea of a social gathering such as a wedding or a festival but most of today’s youth consider it to be a chore.

Maybe we need only to hark back to the wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore in his poem, ‘Where the mind is without fear’ to fully realise what we have been doing wrong and what we can do better to knit our communities closer.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls”

WE ARE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”- Mother Teresa. We often forget that man is a social animal and at one point or another, he seeks the approval of others. No matter how much we try to neglect others and the opinion of others, in the end it bothers us. And why is that? Isn’t it because we care? And why do we care? It’s because we need others to be around us and vice versa.

This notion can be further verified by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. His theory states that there are 5 stages of needs placed in order. The needs are as follows:

  • Physiological needs – Necessities such as food and shelter

  • Safety needs – The willingness to protect the basic needs and safety of oneself.

  • Needs of being belonged and being loved – The urge to seek the approval and the love of others.

  • Self Esteem needs – Trying to achieve certain goals to raise the status of oneself.

  • Self Actualisation needs – The period in life where everything that can be achieved, has been achieved. This is where people go out of their way to seek challenges.

According to Maslow, no ‘need’ can be skipped. It all starts with Physiological needs and ends with self actualisation needs. Everything else lies in between and step by step we progress to the next stage. Perhaps we need only to notice the third ‘need’. After receiving the necessities of life, and ensuring the safety of those necessities, we inevitably seek the approval of others. And everything we do thereafter is to solidify our relationships with those around us. This shows us that we cannot do without the love and adoration of those around us, and they without ours.

PERKS OF BEING A CLOSELY- KNIT COMMUNITY

Research has shown that socialising with the community can help with mental health. According to Medical News Today's office, people find comfort in social interaction. This can help create a strong bond between the residents of a community and provides a sense of togetherness.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of being a closely-knit community is - having strength in numbers. Any issue which concerns the community can be dealt with promptly and swiftly. For instance, an issue with sanitation and cleanliness of the community isn’t just one person’s problem – it’s everyone’s problem. This is a kind of situation that brings the community together against a common issue.

HOW ALL OF THIS IS CONCERNED WITH MENTAL HEALTH

According to the observation of the late great Mother Teresa, the greatest disease in the West isn’t Tuberculosis or leprosy but the disease of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. Physical injuries can be cured by medicine but the medicine to the scars of loneliness and hopelessness is love. She says that the Western world is a poor place, perhaps not in terms of wealth but terms of togetherness. People don’t communicate with each other; they often ignore the presence of others and fail to unite as a community, which is why there are so many cases of mental health issues and depression in the West. She stated that India is a country that might not be wealthy in terms of riches but the bonding between the people of their respective communities is what makes India rich. Despite being so diverse, the people of India find a way to unite.

This observation by Mother Teresa was decades ago. Since then a lot has changed, in the world and India. India has adopted various practices from the West, which also might include us being distant from each other despite belonging to the same community. The cases of mental health issues in India have risen drastically. The WHO has labelled India as the world’s most depressing country between 1990 to 2017. Every one in 7 people from India have suffered from mental illness during this period according to their study.

India adopting the Western style of living and the rising cases of depression is not a coincidence. We as humans have become more private and reserved than ever before. We hardly have time in our lives to socialise with those in our communities; this was not the case post-independence. A good example to suggest this theory – earlier the youth would be thrilled with the idea of a social gathering such as a wedding or a festival but most of today’s youth consider it to be a chore.

Maybe we need only to hark back to the wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore in his poem, ‘Where the mind is without fear’ to fully realise what we have been doing wrong and what we can do better to knit our communities closer.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls”

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