Mental health, poetry and joy
How to cite this article: Jani NJ. Mental health, poetry and joy. J Intgr Stand Homoeopathy 2022;5:84-5.
“We bring nothing into this world
except our gradual ability
to create it, out of all that vanishes
and all that will outlast us.”
- Les Murray (Australian Poet and Critic)
These lines appear in Murray’s last poetry book ‘Continuous Creation’, published posthumously after his death in 2019. The book has been named Best Book of 2022 (poetry) by The New Yorker. In the above poem, Murray wryly observes the changing world, travels back in time and history with characteristic curiosity and captures the small delights of life.
Growing old is an inevitable part of our existence on earth. No one is spared of it. Our physiological functions slowly start deteriorating, but as Murray says what will outlast all is the ability to create a better world and leave a legacy behind. Many are fortunately well enough to be able to do that; an increasing number of elder individuals affected with mental health issues are unable to.
An epidemiological study indicated an average of 20.5% mental health morbidity in older adults. It was also observed that around 17.13 million older adults (total population, 83.58 million) in India have mental health problems. A study reported that 4.41% of the the total elderly population seeking treatment from a homoeopathic hospital had mental health issues. The pandemic of COVID-19 increased the risk of mental well-being in the elderly, the most affected were the ones staying in long-term institutional Care or Old age homes. This created a need to formulate a multidisciplinary approach to evolving effective strategies for geriatric mental well-being. In this issue, we have an original paper by Surati et al. which demonstrates the impact of the multidisciplinary approach, and the efficacy of homoeopathy in dealing with a significant mental health issue of the elderly in institutional care.
In another poem titled ‘It Allows A Portrait In Line Scan At Fifteen’, Les Murray writes,
“He retains a slight ‘Martian’ accent, from the years of single phrases.
He no longer hugs to disarm. It is gradually allowing him affection.
It does not allow proportion. Distress is absolute, shrieking, and runs him at frantic speed through crashing doors.
He likes Cyborgs. Their taciturn power, their intonation.
It still runs him around the house, alone in the dark, cooing and laughing.
He can read about soils, populations, and New Zealand. On neutral topics he’s
In this poem, Murray brings out the severe communication difficulties and isolation in children with autism. He was able to explore this vividly and delicately, as he was a father of one and remained a lifelong supporter of various autism awareness organisations. There is increasing public awareness about childhood developmental disorders, but still, myths and misconceptions prevail widely. Homoeopathy has a significant role to play in these ailments,[5-10] but the good work done in this area is not reaching the masses and even the practitioners and students of homoeopathy. In this issue in an original article, Gupta et al. report the findings of a survey conducted among undergraduate and postgraduate students at a homoeopathic college to identify the knowledge, attitudes and level of awareness of homoeopathic students regarding intellectual developmental disorders using a standardised questionnaire. The findings of the survey will help to initiate programmes to enhance awareness of childhood developmental and intellectual disorders on a much larger scale.
The role of homoeopathy in structurally advanced diseases is known. In this issue, we have evidence-based case series of benign prostatic hyperplasia and a case report of grade 3 haemorrhoids demonstrating the role of homoeopathy. These will surely give wonderful learnings.
JISH looks back at the fortunate year which has received quality papers from all corners of India and around the world. This reach has been possible with the support of our publisher, contributors, esteemed reviewers and readers. We also ventured into a newer medium as increasingly we felt the need to create awareness about scientific writing among the homoeopathic fraternity. Starting with a simple podcast, we have now been able to create short educational videos of most aspects of scientific writing for homoeopathic physicians. I would like to thank our media consultant, Dr. Keyur Vakharia, whose tireless and persistent efforts have helped us achieve a significant presence on social media.
I express my gratitude to the editorial board members and have no words to describe the motivation and help given by Dr. Kumar Dhawale and Dr. Shruti Palaye – all I can say to both of them is ‘Thank You for Everything’!
As we ring in the New Year and take stock of the year gone by, I recall a famous poem by one of my favourite poets Mary Oliver, one which is recommended by a lot of mental health experts for when people have their ‘blues’, aptly titled ‘The Summer Day’, she writes:
“I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
I wish all of us experience joy all our lives of all that the poet has done during the day and I hope the coming year will bring in warmth and happiness in the lives of you and your loved ones. On behalf of the entire editorial board of JISH, I wish all a Very Happy New Year.
- Indian J Gerontol. 2016;30:276-83.Clinical analysis of geriatric patients in the light of homoeopathy.
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