The Tata Mumbai Marathon was organised with over 55,000 participants coming out to participate in different categories like full marathon, half marathon, 10 k run and Maharashtra Elite Run. Actor Tiger Shroff who was also a part of the event, reinstated the need to be more open and forthcoming about mental health problems.
Others present included Bollywood celebrities like Milind Soman, Rahul Bose, Shamita Shetty and Gulzar; Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray, Finance Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Union Minister of Affair and Sports Kiren Rijju as well as Maharashtra Environment and Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray, who flagged off the event.
Poddar Foundation participated in this historical event which saw presence of people who are currently battling mental illness as well as the ones who reached out for help and got adequate support. The support was overwhelming to see as people came out all the way from their districts and villages to run for the cause which needs greater awareness and attention in this time. People carried posters and hoardings that read ‘Let’s fight against anxiety and depression’ and ‘let’s achieve a healthy balance’.
The runners included winners Derara Hurisa of Ethiopia who broke the event world record as well as Parul Choudhary of Uttar Pradesh who won the half marathon.
Dr Prakriti Poddar, Expert in Mental Health and Managing Trustee, Poddar Foundation says that chronic stress and mental illness are very high among residents of metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi where people struggle with lack of work-life balance with difficult working hours and highly stressful jobs. It is important therefore for the medical community as well as awareness providers to adopt a more integrated approach to physical and mental health. We need to accord high priority to mental health by establishing intervention and screening mechanisms at different levels – schools, colleges, workplaces and community levels. Corporate organisations must take into account the impact of job-related stress on the health of their employees and institute mechanisms to help them deal with it. They must equip their employees with stress management skills and invest in creating a work-life balanced environment.
Mental illness is a prevalent condition in India which receives less attention than it deserves. According to research, one in four people in India deal with some form of mental illness but are hesitant to reach out. The factors which contribute to mental illness are breakdown of traditional families, increasing migration and growing loneliness.