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Mental illnesses are brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviours. Since we all have brains – having some kind of mental health problem during your life is really common.

Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological.

  • From April 2018 to March 2019 – In Maharashtra, 3, 88, 503 patients were diagnosed mental illness.
  •  From April 01, 2019 to September 30, 2019 – In Maharashtra, 1, 54, 908 patients were diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • From within this figure – 41, 624 patients in Mumbai are suffering from a mental illness.

Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, a senior psychiatrist attached with Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) Hospital, said, “Changes in lifestyle is one of the causes behind the rise in patients suffering from a mental disorder. The figures are shocking. If we take into account the patients seeking treatment at private hospitals, the figure could be much more.”

He added, “I see around 100 to 150 people at the psychiatric OPD, who are facing some kind of a mental health problem. In future, India could likely become the capital of psychiatric disorders. Due to depression, farmers commit suicide in Marathwada and Vidharbha. There is a shortage of psychiatrists in rural areas. The state government must take preventive measures.”

Therapy can be beneficial for both the individual with mental illness and other family members. A mental health professional can suggest ways to cope and better understand your loved one’s illness.

When looking for a therapist, be patient and talk to a few professionals so you can choose the person that is right for you and your family. It may take time until you are comfortable, but in the long run you will be glad you sought help.

While Dr Pravin Navkare, a psychiatrist from Bhandara, said, “In the last few years, the number of patients with mental health conditions have increased. Awareness is needed to be created in society. Due to better awareness in modern times, more people have come forward to seek treatment for mental disorders.”

“But there is a lack of awareness among people living in tribal and rural areas. Awareness needs to be created in such regions, so that people come forward and seek treatment,” concluded Dr Navkare.

Cities in Maharashtra with people facing mental illnesses:

  • Mumbai – 1,51,881
  • Pune – 97, 174
  • Nashik – 31,765
  • Thane – 25, 076
  • Bhandara – 19, 838
  • Jalna – 12, 864
  • Ahmednagar – 9, 624
  • Dhule – 135

(This figure is from government and civic-run hospitals. If private hospitals are taken into account, the figure could be much bigger.)

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