India’s stigmatized mental healthcare cries for prioritisation

In India's close-knit communities, mental health struggles often face a deafening silence. According to a study by Deloitte, over 70 per cent of Indians use derogatory terms for mental disorders and nearly 40 per cent voice fear of a neighbour seeking help for mental health issues.

Avani Rara Jan 12, 2024
Image
Representational Photo (Photo: Twitter)

In India's diverse healthcare system, it seems societal misconceptions do contribute a ‘fair’ share of mental health challenges. According to Statista, a German data archive platform, 30 per cent of adults in India identify mental health as the primary concern, yet the issue remains inadequately addressed by the government. Mental well-being encompasses emotional, psychological, and social balances, impacting one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. When disruptions occur, they pose significant hurdles, demanding comprehensive support and attention.

Despite the economic growth, recent news reports suggest that India bears a heavy burden of mental health issues, with nearly 200 million people affected, including 56 million with depression and 38 million with anxiety disorders. Alarmingly, three-quarters of them experience these issues by age 24, with half showing signs by age 14. The mental health infrastructure also falls short, with only 46 dedicated mental health institutes and around 9,000 psychiatrists.

High suicide rate 

India grapples with a severe shortage of mental health professionals, with only 0.75 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 people, far below the WHO recommendation of 3 per 100,000. This shortage is particularly acute in rural areas and contributes significantly to India's high suicide rate of 12.70 per 100,000 individuals annually, placing India among the nations with the highest rates of depression and suicide worldwide.  Lancet Journal reports India has an 80 per cent treatment gap for mental disorders, which will cost $1.03 trillion to the economy by 2030.

According to a survey, in India, only 7 per cent can afford mental health treatment directly, with 44 per cent relying on private insurance. Shockingly, mental health care costs can eat up 30-40 per cent of monthly income on average, as per Lancet Psychiatry. In cities, counselling sessions cost around Rs 1500 per hour. While free digital teleservices handle many cases, severe ones need expensive additional support.

In India's close-knit communities, mental health struggles often face a deafening silence. According to a study by Deloitte, over 70 per cent of Indians use derogatory terms for mental disorders and nearly 40 per cent voice fear of a neighbour seeking help for mental health issues. ETactics, in a study among 90,000 people worldwide, found that 12.6 per cent of people with mental health disorders delay treatment due to fear of stigma. Hurtful labels like "crazy" or "attention-seeking" cling to mental health conversations, perpetuating this isolation. This silence bleeds into workplaces and social lives, with 9 per cent choosing secrecy over seeking help. While the 2017 Mental Healthcare Act aimed to break down these barriers, the Government of India allocates only 1 per cent of GDP towards its implementation.

A World Health Organization (WHO) study found that nearly 90 per cent of individuals in middle-income countries like India lack access to essential mental health care. The government's Tele-MANAS initiative, launched in 2021 as a digital portal, aims to bridge this gap. However, accessibility and affordability remain a significant challenge. Despite Tele-MANAS receiving 2,00,000 calls in a year, physical and mental health services remain exclusive to a few, underscoring the persistent lack of accessibility and digital divide in the country.

Partnering with NGOs

In India's $3 billion mental health market, the growth of technology should also play a crucial role in enhancing accessibility. For instance, the increasing use of gadgets like online meetings and phones significantly lowers counselling costs by up to Rs 300-500 per hour, enabling companies to offer more accessible services. Many health startups in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi curate YouTube videos, discussion forums, and other mediums to educate people on self-care and preventive measures. These platforms foster open discussions and make mental health support more affordable and accessible through innovative and passionate solutions. It promises an evolving and growing space for more people to invest in the widely untapped market, providing the perfect opportunity for growth in the sector.

India's sizable youth population could drive open conversations about therapy and peer support. Through collaboration with NGOs, national strategies can effectively reach communities via grassroots efforts and social support networks. This collaboration can benefit basic counselling training given to the healthcare personnel available at community hospitals and self-help groups. Primary counselling helplines created in rural areas through feasible and cost-effective plans implemented by these groups have already proven effective. Such strategies thus create an efficient solution to India's growing and demanding healthcare needs.

Mental healthcare ecosystem 

Partnering with local NGOs to train teachers in the early identification of mental health issues among children is pivotal. The coping mechanism must involve tailoring student-focused learning with social-emotional programs on stress tolerance and building resilience and vital life skills. Supporting such initiatives through community organisations and coordinated efforts across sectors are instrumental in enhancing our mental health care system.

Today, any practical solutions for mental health challenges in India require substantial government support, increased funding, recognition, and dedicated personnel. However, this effort hinges on the demand from the people. Self-awareness through education is an added advantage that helps society to evolve in its perception of mental health. It's everyone's responsibility—citizens, NGOs, healthcare professionals, and policymakers—to advocate for mental health prioritisation. Creating a comprehensive and sustainable mental health care ecosystem demands active participation from all stakeholders everywhere.

(The author is a research intern with the Centre for Social and Policy Research at CHRIST (Deemed to be University). Views are personal. She can be contacted at avani.rara@pseco.christuniversity.in )

Post a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
출장마사지
Sat, 02/17/2024 - 01:13
Wow, this post is good, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds of things,
thus I am going to inform her.
출장안마
Sat, 02/17/2024 - 04:28
I simply could not leave your site before suggesting that I
actually enjoyed the standard information an individual provide for your visitors?
Is gonna be back continuously in order to inspect new posts
출장마사지
Sun, 02/18/2024 - 02:45
Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog
shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Many thanks
https://www.kidsmonitor.io
Sun, 02/18/2024 - 07:35
I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout
on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?

Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see
a great blog like this one today.
출장마사지
Mon, 02/19/2024 - 04:41
Now I am going away to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.
출장
Mon, 02/19/2024 - 09:49
Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
Thanks
출장마사지
Mon, 02/19/2024 - 12:47
I know this web page presents quality based articles or reviews and additional stuff, is there any other website
which offers these kinds of things in quality?
출장마사지
Thu, 02/22/2024 - 09:24
I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

I do not know who you are but certainly you're going
to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!
출장안마
Sun, 02/25/2024 - 03:00
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.

I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if
you aren't already ;) Cheers!
about
Mon, 02/26/2024 - 12:59
I'm amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that's both
educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've
hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.

I am very happy that I found this in my hunt for something concerning this.
https://www.kidsmonitor.io
Tue, 02/27/2024 - 00:09
It's in fact very difficult in this full of activity life to listen news on TV, so I
just use internet for that purpose, and get the most up-to-date information.
출장마사지
Tue, 02/27/2024 - 03:59
Hi to every , since I am really keen of reading this blog's post to be updated regularly.

It consists of fastidious information.
감성마사지
Thu, 03/21/2024 - 19:55
At this time I am going away to do my breakfast, after having
my breakfast coming over again to read additional news.
https://www.kidsmonitor.io
Sun, 03/31/2024 - 03:42
Ahaa, its nice discussion concerning this post at this place at this
website, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.
출장안마
Tue, 04/02/2024 - 03:34
Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could
add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe
you would have some experience with something like this.

Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your
new updates.
출장스웨디시
Tue, 04/02/2024 - 13:02
There's definately a lot to know about this topic.
I love all of the points you have made.
출장사이트
Tue, 04/02/2024 - 22:32
What's Taking place i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I've
found It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads.

I hope to contribute & assist other customers like its
aided me. Good job.
출장마사지
Wed, 04/03/2024 - 06:08
I read this paragraph fully concerning the resemblance of hottest and earlier
technologies, it's amazing article.
출장스웨디시
Wed, 04/03/2024 - 07:40
These are actually fantastic ideas in concerning blogging.

You have touched some good factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.
출장서비스
Thu, 04/04/2024 - 11:22
Highly descriptive article, I loved that a lot.
Will there be a part 2?
https://msgromi.com
Sun, 04/07/2024 - 07:21
If some one wants expert view concerning blogging and site-building afterward
i recommend him/her to pay a visit this weblog,
Keep up the nice job.
https://www.styleanma.com
Sun, 04/07/2024 - 13:10
Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?

I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you
share some stories/information. I know my viewers would
enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel
free to shoot me an e-mail.
https://www.styleanma.com
Mon, 04/08/2024 - 05:49
Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you present.
It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same unwanted rehashed
information. Wonderful read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your
RSS feeds to my Google account.
출장마사지
Tue, 04/09/2024 - 09:33
My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.
This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply
how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
https://www.kidsmonitor.io
Fri, 04/12/2024 - 23:14
Thanks for any other informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal way?
I've a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look
out for such information.