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Complex modern lifestyles with an overall lack of support system and economic disparities have caused a rapid increase in mental health deterioration.

In a discussion on Mental Health and the role of Corporate Social Responsibility by Wockhardt Foundation in Mumbai on Friday, it was stressed that we need to take urgent steps to control the growing number of mental illness in India.

The conference was held to discuss the current Indian scenario of Mental Health and the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The conference focused on discussing mental health concerns plaguing India, forming solution-centric approach to the issues, discussing ways to utilize CSR resources to tackle the problems, highlight the required policy change along with the need to increase public-private partnerships.

Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson of Mpower, an Aditya Birla Education Trust initiative Birla has been felicitated with several awards for her contribution in the field of mental health and has initiated campaigns like ‘Ride to Mpower’ which aim encourage conversations & break the stigma related to mental illness.

She commented, “It is unfortunate that in our country mental health issues have traditionally been ignored or swept under the carpet – due to lack of awareness and education on one hand, and due to the stigma and the discrimination attached to them, on the other. Now, more than ever the need to have more mental health services is necessary. I’m happy to be a part of Talk for Action Wockhardt Conference where this critical issue was discussed and I hope to see more corporates focus their CSR efforts on addressing these complex issues.”

Dr Huzaifa Khorakiwala Founder & Chairman of Wockhardt Foundation, said, “India has one of the largest populations suffering from one form of mental illness or the other and that one in five Indians may suffer from depression in their lifetime, with suicide being the leading cause of dearth among those aged 15–29 in India.”

He added, “We must wake up and take action now. We need to strengthen and implement mental health policies and programs in the near future and provide the rationale to enhance investment in mental health care in India and CSR resources must be utilised for this purpose.”

Asmita Satyarthi, Director, Wockhardt Foundation, said, “This conference is the first step to bring various stakeholders together on one platform to discuss this very important issue. Corporates must take a lead in breaking the taboo and enabling concrete action on mental health.”

Some relevant facts about Mental Health in India

  • Prevalence of mental illness, such as mood disorders, is higher among males (13.9%) as compared to females (7.5%)
  • 22.4% of the population above 18 years suffers from substance use disorder, majorly tobacco and alcohol
  • Alcohol use is found to be higher in males (9%) as against females (0.5%)
  • Nearly 1% of the population reports high suicidal tendencies
  • Prevalence of mental illness among teenagers (13 to 17 years) is 7.3% with the most common being depression
  • The treatment gap for mental disorders ranges between 70% and 92% across different disorders
  • 150 million people in India are affected by mental illness but only 10-12% of these individuals will seek help
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among those aged 15–29 in India
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