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COVID Pandemic Heightened Mental Health Awareness, Psychological Well-Being In India: Expert

As per the National Mental Health survey, the overall prevalence of mental health disorders in India is between 10 to 12 per cent; while the global estimates by the World Health Organization are approx 25 per cent

COVID Pandemic Heightened Nental Health Awareness, Psychological Well-Being In India: Expert
Former Director of the Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences Dr Nimesh Desai expressed worry over the treatment gap for mental health issues

New Delhi: As the Mental Health Awareness month – May, comes to an end, former Director of the Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences Dr Nimesh Desai on Sunday (May 29) opined that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped the Indian population to be more aware of mental health and psychological wellbeing. Speaking with ANI, Dr Desai called the heightened mental health awareness a “positive sign”, but also expressed concern regarding Indians seeking help for the same.

The positive spin-off of the pandemic is the heightened increased awareness of mental health, psychological wellbeing, and looking after yourself. These are all very good points, he said.

Also Read: Study Finds Stress, Anxiety, And Depression During Pregnancy Can Hinder Cognitive Development In Offspring

Talking about the gap in the treatment of mental health issues, Dr Desai said,

The worrisome part is that there is a big treatment gap. There are a lot of people with mental health issues who do not seek any mental health service.

However, he cautioned that psychological distress and psychiatric disorders should not be thought of as the same.

The only caution or the danger is that as a society, while we want to increase psychiatric health-seeking and increase mental health awareness, it is essential that we don’t confuse between psychological distress and psychiatric disorder. Every human being who lived has experienced at least a few years of psychological distress. We all go through problems, but most of us get over them well, the ex-director said.

He reiterated that there’s a need to be positive while looking after those people who require psychiatric treatment.

Also Read: COVID-19 Linked With Increased Risk Of Mental Health Disorders: US Study

On a positive note, Dr Desai said that based on the National Mental Health survey India has comparatively fewer psychiatric disorder cases than the western countries.

The data is very clear; India has less frequency of mental health problems as compared to the western countries, he said.

As per the National Mental Health survey, the overall prevalence of mental health disorders in India is between 10 to 12 per cent; while the global estimates by the World Health Organization are approx 25 per cent. American studies show an even higher number.

May is observed as Mental Health Awareness Month. The purpose of it is to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness by raising awareness of mental health conditions and those who have them.

Also Read: Opinion: Importance Of Mental Health Awareness At School

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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