- Experts are debating the reasons for mental illness and why it is being misdiagnosed or diagnosed late in India.
- They recommend measures for reducing mental health stigma and improving mental health treatment.
Facts About Mental Illness In India
Statistics show that 1 in 20 people suffer from a mental health condition in India and that the treatment gap varies between 70–92%. Moreover, the suicide rate in India is 15.7—which is higher than the regional average of 12.9 and the global average of 10.
The Mental Health Scenario In India
The mental health scenario in India is characterized by:
- Lack of understanding of mental health disorders and disability
- Severe mental health stigma in healthcare
- Poor psychiatric infrastructure
- Low mental health professional-patient ratio
- Low investment in mental health care
- Lack of social support during treatment and recovery
Because of these factors, mental disorders are more often diagnosed in their most severe stages or not at all. Sometimes, people are misdiagnosed for life. Moreover, a lack of mental health awareness means that people usually mistake the common signs of mental illness, such as lethargy, indigestion, body ache, social withdrawal, etc.
What Are The Reasons For Mental Illness In India?
Most mental health disorders can be attributed to genetics and negative developmental experiences, such as:
- Childhood abuse
- Parental neglect
- Stressful events
- Life-changing events
- Environmental and lifestyle factors
Measures To Ensure Sound Mental Health And Wellbeing
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have noted the shift in the ‘Indian’ mental health approach. People appear more open to mental health counseling, particularly availing services like telemedicine and online therapy.
They have also suggested ways in which people can maintain sound mental health and well-being. These include:
- Destigmatizing mental health
- Availing timely and proper therapy and medication
- Availing governmental mental health programs
- Availing community/social support for recovery
- Practicing self-help strategies
- Volunteering for a good cause, etc.
Indeed, by coming together and helping each other throughout our mental health struggles, diagnosis, and recovery—we can beat the rising tide of mental health conditions, self-harm, and suicide in India.
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