‘India is reeling under the issue of serious mental health epidemic’

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. But, deteriorating mental health is a severe issue in the country. In an event on November 2, President Ram Nath Kovind stated that the country is reeling under the issue of serious mental health epidemic by pointing at the lack of mental health interventions in the country

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Awareness regarding the mental health is the need of the hour. According to the National Mental Health Survey of 2016, nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population requires mental health interventions, tweeted President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday, November 2.

We are looking at a mental epidemic that is quite serious, he added. Experts too agree with this. “The environment around us is changing. There is a major psycho-social upheaval in the country. Helplessness is looming in the country,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior Consulting Psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani hospital, Powai.

He further added that the medical seats for psychiatry is also limited, leading to further problems. Reportedly, the president at the event added that 14 per cent of people in the country require mental health interventions and about 2 per cent suffered from severe mental disorders, citing figures from the Mental Health Survey.

Even while we talk highly about mental health today, one of the underlying causes seems to be the stigma and repeated denial to get help. “Denial as well stigma is very much a reality in our society, even today,” said Dr Parul Tank, Consultant Psychiatrist at Asian Heart, Mumbai and Fortis Hospital who is also the head of the psychiatry department at Rajawadi Hospital.

She further explained, “There is very little awareness regarding mental health even among other medical professionals. Once that increases, it will be very easy to tackle the stigma also. Para-medical professionals also, must be equally trained to at least identify mental health problems. Once all of this is sorted, there will be a brighter side to the discussion.”