India fails to address growing mental health problem | Health

The latest survey from the Indian National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) found that almost 150 million Indians need mental health care services, but less than 30 million seek care. “More than 10% of the population suffers from diagnosable mental health or addictions. Mental health is paramount, and getting treatment for mental health is not a luxury but a necessity,” said Pratima Murthy, Director from NIMHANS, to DW. (Also read: 10 simple tips to manage your mental health)

The National Mental Health Survey looked at issues such as mental morbidity, which is physical and psychological deterioration resulting from a psychological condition. He also looked at neurosis and stress disorders. Alarmingly, the survey concluded that 1% of the sample size was at high risk for suicide.

In 2017, a survey of mental health in India by the medical journal Lancet showed that diagnoses of psychological disorders had doubled from 1990 to 2017.

Not enough mental health professionals

In India, mental health disorders often remain hidden, as there is a lack of education and awareness regarding psychological disorders.

“Many children and young people are experiencing mental health issues in India. Yet social stigma and negative attitudes towards mental health prevent young people from seeking the support they need. It’s time to break the silence around mental health and illness,” Arjan de Wagt, a deputy representative for UNICEF India, told DW.

There are also not enough mental health professionals to treat people who seek help. This is especially true in rural parts of India.

According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, there are only 0.75 psychiatrists per 100,000 patients in India. A better ratio would be 3 to 100,000, according to the newspaper.

But even that number is low compared to countries like Germany, where there were more than 13 psychiatrists per 100,000 patients in 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

And, despite data showing an increase in mental health problems, India’s Ministry of Health in 2022 allocated less than 1% of its budget to directly address psychological illnesses.

Priority to mental health

“India needs a decentralized approach to mental health that is not run by government,” Nelson Vinod Moses of the Suicide Prevention India Foundation told DW.

“Offering grants and grants for the start-up of clinics, hospitals, technological innovations, research, public health campaigns and peer-based interventions is the need of the hour,” he said. -he adds.

Anjali Nagpal, a Delhi-based psychiatrist, told DW that policies must be adopted to make mental health treatment a national priority, which will then have a positive effect on tackling other ailments.

“Minimizing stigma will not only help reduce the financial burden of mental illness, but will also help the government achieve its goals in other medical areas such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension and cardiology, which are affected. by negligence of mental health,” says Nagpal.

Economic output has also been affected

During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a marked increase in mental health issues around the world. In India, mental health problems have been observed especially among white collar workers.

Last month, a comprehensive survey by Deloitte, a management consulting firm, found that 47% of professionals surveyed rated work-related stress as the biggest factor affecting their mental health, followed by financial hardship.

The report estimates that mental health issues cost Indian employers an estimated $14 billion a year through absenteeism, reduced productivity and attrition.

The WHO estimates that mental health problems cost the global economy $1 trillion a year in lost productivity.

The Deloitte study also found that 80% of the Indian workforce reported mental health issues in the past year. Despite these alarming numbers, the report says social stigma around mental health issues prevented 39% of affected respondents from taking action to manage their symptoms.

For World Mental Health Day earlier this month, the Indian Ministry of Health launched a 24-hour mental health service called Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS).

It aims to increase access to psychiatric care throughout the country, including in hard-to-reach areas.

Callers are connected online to mental health specialists such as clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses or psychiatrists.

“We recognize the mental health crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If a caller requires in-person services, they will be referred to a Health and Wellness Center or Primary Health Center or at a tertiary care center,” a health ministry said. official told DW.

If you are suffering from severe emotional stress or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You can find information on where to find such help, no matter where in the world you live, on this website: https://www.befrienders.org/.

Edited by: Wesley Rahn

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