The NMHS reveals that nearly 15% of Indian adults need active interventions for their health issues. While the survey estimated that nearly 150 million individuals required mental health services, less than 30 million were seeking care. According to Lancet, about 197 million people, roughly one in seven Indians, suffered from mental disorders in 2017.
Dr. Ashok Agarwal, and Dr. Pradeepta K. Nayak say that with apathy and individualism human life is getting ruptured, with its social fabric falling apart. Left behind; the most marginalized are ignored and isolated. There is stress and loneliness, anxiety, depression, conduct disorders, and other mental health issue.
Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder, according to the United Nations (June 2022). To make matters worse; in 2020, the number of people with such disorders rose significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic when the rates of common conditions such as depression and anxiety, went up by more than 25 per cent, says the WHO. The WHO has urged the countries to get to grips with worsening conditions.
India’s National Mental Health Survey (2015-16) point to the huge burden of mental health problems in the country. The NMHS reveals that nearly 15% of Indian adults need active interventions for their health issues. While the survey estimated that nearly 150 million individuals required mental health services, less than 30 million were seeking care. According to Lancet, about 197 million people, roughly one in seven Indians, suffered from mental disorders in 2017.
There are several factors leading to mental illness. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like leprosy also cause mental distress. Disability, stigma, discrimination and deprivation have major impacts on mental wellbeing. Because of the visible physical differences, many people living with leprosy and other NTDs face stigma and rejection resulting in poor mental health. Recognising and addressing mental health and wellbeing needs of people with NTDs is essential. These highly stigmatised conditions require increased community awareness, and strengthened mental health services. Increased access to quality mental health care includes building competencies among primary healthcare service providers to better identify, treat, and refer people with mental health needs.
Compassion among the service providers may address mental health. Restoration of human dignity is vital for dismantling the destructive effects of stigmatizing conditions – including mental health problems. Health workers are often seen with stigmatizing beliefs and practices. It is important for the healthcare workers to provide respectful, empathetic and compassionate care. However, stigma is a barrier to compassion as it compromises the quality and access of services. There is a growing recognition of the critical role of compassion for patients, healthcare workers, and health systems.
The worldwide shortage of human resources for mental health may be addressed by task-sharing and task-shifting to non-(mental) health professionals. Lancet (2011; Epub Oct 16) reports that task shifting from mental health professionals to primary healthcare workers, community-based volunteers and peer- supporters can be done successfully. Self-help and peer support may also be important sources of support. Such initiatives are increasingly being used to provide emotional support for persons with chronic conditions such as lymphatic filariasis and leprosy. Providing and qualitatively improving mental health support in India is vital for the affected persons, but also their family members.