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Book Review: Shhh! Don’t Talk About Mental Health by Arjun Gupta

Before getting into ‘its and buts’ and ‘sneak peaks’, let us announce that ‘Shhh! Don’t Talk About Mental Health’ by Arjun Gupta is a powerful psychology book. It is not a self-help book. Mental health is the core of all sorrows and happiness in our lives. It is like the main engine of the train. But, sadly, in India and in many underdeveloped or developing countries, mental health is not taken in good spirit. It is discarded as something unusual and unwanted. This proposition, alone, makes the sufferer go wild and down and dull in all spheres of life.

So if you think that mental health is just a combination of two words and it can be gauzed and described in one simple definition, you have a wrong perception about it. It is way beyond and holds far-reaching effects on our minds and hearts. The book opens up with the story of Yashasvi, a young student in Bangalore, something unexpected has had happened with him and he is down in the alley of critical depression. He comes out of that is another finding and revelations, however, in between lies the crux to win over coldly-stabbing mental health issues, like depression.

Though being a non-fiction and offbeat from the self-help genre, the book still sounds interesting and charming. This is because of the proper segmentation of the topics and chapter after chapter new findings and discoveries will not stop bemusing. While reading and understanding the context, you will have that feeling of being educated in the mental health field, and there is a lot left to win in life.

Section I – From Possessed to Depressed – is the best section in the book. It takes us into the realms of history of many countries where we see how, over the years, mental health issues have been evolved. The story is not the same everywhere, some sufferers were seen as an evil spirit and possessed by natural powers, people were chained and tortured. Even to contribute in this field, some people have suffered it first-hand before helping others.

In the following sections, the author’s stance begins taking practical approaches. We come to know about expectations, environment, stigma, behavioral pattern that decide the fate of a person suffering from mental illness. Stigma: A Silent Weapon is the most effective topic in the book, even if this chapter puts out into blogs, we are sure that it can help millions of depressed people come out of their abysmal zone.

The kind of research, data, stats, and credibility the author has instilled in the narrative is way par excellence. One needs to be attentive and extremely focused to bind everything into a readable entity. 

What happens to Yashasvi, in the end, is left to you – you need to discover what helped him or what fate did he succumb? Overall, it’s a bit dark but a good book, and can be referred from time to time, by teachers, patients, psychiatrists, and many more people grappling in life due to mental health issues.


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