Note: This topic is important in context of TISSNET.
Mental health concerns are a serious public health concern in today’s age.
Individuals with serious mental problems have a 10-year life expectancy drop, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2017, 72 percent of member states had a separate mental health policy or plan.
The National Mental Health Policy (NMHP) was adopted in 2014, and a privileges Mental Healthcare Act was introduced in 2017, replacing the Mental Healthcare Act of 1987.
India’s Mental Health Situation:
- According to recent Lancet research, one in every seven Indians suffered a mental condition in 2017, ranging from mild to severe.
- In addition, between 1990 and 2017, the percentage contribution of mental diseases to the total disease burden had doubled.
- Depressive and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are examples of mental disorders.
- Considering the nature of development, industrialization, urbanization, and other variables not yet understood, the situation in the southern states was usually worse than in the northern states.
- Females were more likely than males to have depressive disorders, which could be attributable to sexual abuse, gender discrimination, stress from prenatal and postnatal difficulties, and other factors.
In today’s world, there are a variety of mental illnesses:
- Anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders, and eating disorders are examples of mental illnesses.
- The majority of suicides worldwide are caused by psychological issues or disorders like those outlined above.
- Suicide is a complex topic that is under-reported.
- In 2016, the worldwide suicide rate was 10.6 per 100,000 people, while it was 16.3 per 100,000 in India. Males committed suicide at a higher rate than females.
- Several communicable and non-communicable diseases may be more widespread in emerging economies like India, making mental health a secondary issue.
- Also there are issues with funding, delivery of mental health programs, and a lack of skilled workers, among other things.
- Nevertheless, in the aftermath of COVID-19, these issues must be taken more seriously, as mental health concerns are widespread among the Indian populace as a result of lockdowns and other concerns.
Indications of mental health from several reports:
- According to studies published in The Lancet Public Health (2019), global mental health investment in 2015 was roughly 2% of overall government healthcare costs.
- It was roughly 0.5 percent of a country’s health expenditure in low-income nations, 1.9 percent in lower-middle-income nations, 2.4 percent in upper-middle-income countries, and 5.1 percent in high-income nations.
- In industrialised countries, the allotment was higher than in poor countries.
- In India, government spending on hospitals that cope with mental health concerns accounts for 3% of overall government spending on mental health. In affluent countries, it varies from 3% to 15%.
- According to the WHO, India has a rate of 0.01 mental hospitals per 100,000 people, which is comparable to other developing countries.
- This could be attributed to the fact that mental health receives less attention in India than other major disorders.
- People who work in the mental health field assist us in better understanding mental health challenges.
- With 0.292 per 100,000 people, India was placed 107th. In India, there are 0.796 nurses, 0.065 social workers, and 0.069 psychologists working in the mental health sector per 100,000 people.
- In any of these three categories, the leading countries had population density of 150.3, 145.4, and 222.6 per 100,000 people.
- India was ranked 97th, 79th, and 104th among WHO member countries in this regard.
Differential measures to Tackle Mental Health Issues in India:
- In order to treat mental health issues in a more comprehensive way,
- India has the potential to close the mental health care gap.
- Raise the quantity of people working in mental health.
- Efforts should be made to reduce prejudiced attitudes, and
- Create a comprehensive strategy for recognising, addressing, and managing patient needs.
- Increased counselling services, particularly in remote regions, are required, as well as additional care for women through the availability of female doctors.
- More telemedicine, toll-free helplines, and mental health applications could all be beneficial.
- Communities and families, as well as community-based programmes, play a significant role in this regard.
- Children’s mental state can be improved through school-based mental health services.
- More funding for mental health services, especially in low-income states, may make a big difference.
- Resident mental health services, especially those in the community, are an important aspect of providing high-quality mental health care.
- In most developed economies, public healthcare services have expanded in response to an increase in people with mental health problems.
- Long-term mental health patients are frequently admitted to residential facilities, according to research.
- In the worldwide spread of communal residential facilities for the midpoint year 2016, India ranked 58th among WHO member nations, with 0.017 units per 100,000 people.
The doctors stated that because there is no credible data base in India, insufficient knowledge about mental healthcare professionals postpones care for people with mental illness/intellectual disability and their families, increasing the risk of diseases, disability, and accompanying treatment costs on the family and the community in particular.
The National Mental Health Policy, the National Health Mission, the National Adolescent Health Programme, and Ayushman Bharat have all of the essential elements to treat mental health issues in all segments of the community.
But, in the case of COVID-19, which has worsened mental diseases all across the world, more remains to be accomplished.
The pandemic could be the greatest opportunity to look into various legislative possibilities, such as raising awareness of mental health online.