World Mental Health Day: Putting Empathy in Actions
October 9, 2023 | Contributed by Rahul Choudhary
Parenthood is one of the most beautiful and joyous journey’s one can be on. It does come with it’s highs and lows, challenges and triumphs and yet it makes one feel complete and whole. For some parents, this beautiful journey can become traumatic – these are situations where the parent has to undergo a situation where the life of their child is uncertain. It is a situation which is the hardest and most difficult to come to terms to among the many challenges that life throws and one in which no parent should ever have to be in.
Children born with critical congenital heart defects are at risk, and in some cases, only life-saving interventions can help them lead a normal life. The plight of parents seeing their children in pain, struggling to get access to medical treatment, and facing similar problems is unbearable. On this World Mental Health Day, we look at the mental condition of parents of children born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) and how it adversely affects their daily lives as they juggle their children’s treatment and earning a livelihood at the same time.
How does their day-to-day life get impacted?
Genesis Foundation, an NGO in Haryana, supports the medical treatment of the lesser privileged children born with a congenital heart defect across the country. As a result we often get to interact with the families of the children we support. During our hospital visits, we have the opportunity to speak with the parents in person and gather essential information about their experiences and how their daily lives have been affected after discovering that their child has a congenital heart defect. Most parents have shared with us that they struggled to focus on their work due to the constant worry and tension about their child’s heart health, which persisted even while they were at their jobs.
The news of their child’s condition brought a storm into their lives, and they felt helpless because of the high cost associated with treating congenital heart defects. In addition to the worry of gathering the finances for the treatment the parents deal with something no parent should ever have to – the worry of whether their child will be healthy in the first place.
Their emotional side becomes evident during our conversations when they mention that it was difficult for them to contemplate supporting their child’s medical treatment, especially given their less privileged background. As our conversations continue, they express their gratitude towards the organization and thank us for extending support to them. The look in their eyes is something very hard to out in words – but something that forms the core inspiration of what we do everyday.
We could clearly see the stress they take and how adversely it affects their day-to-day life. This World Mental Health Day when people are raising awareness about mental health in general, we emphasize that mental health of parents whose child is born with CHD who go through the pain needs to be taken care of well as well. We have some of the parents who reached out to us after searching for NGO near me and got in touch with us.
Through our interactions happen with the parents, we have commonly seen that it was difficult for them to process when they first came to know about the situation of the child due to lack of awareness about the illness.
This lack of awareness leads to greater apprehensions in the mind of parents towards the treatment, survival, life post-treatment, etc. It is also seen that parent’s day to day relations externally with friends and family also get impacted due to this. At the time, they need more people to be around them, they subconsciously tend to maintain distance and avoid talking which further affect the mental health. The emotional impact on both father and mother varies due to the
But the challenges usually vary depending upon the financial background them come from as some of them are from financially stable background while others who are not privileged usually rely on organizations like Genesis Foundations. Also, there are some who are left with no options and still waiting for a chance.
At Genesis Foundation, we wholeheartedly understand the pain and struggle that parents of children go through. During our hospital visits and screening camps organized in the areas where families have limited access to pediatric cardiac care facilities, when we have the chance to meet them face to face, we provide consolation and attempt to give words of strength to them. We are recognized as one of the best NGOs in Haryana, known for helping underprivileged families seeking financial assistance for the treatment of their children born with congenital heart defects.
We have received numerous awards for our incredible work on the ground, making a significant impact on the lives of many children and their families. On this World Mental Health Day, we pledge to continue standing by these families, offering not only financial help but also the emotional support whenever there is a one-on-one interaction with them.