New Delhi: World Mental Health Day, marked annually on October 10, to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. This year, World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme “Mental health is a universal human right”.
The World Health Organization states,
Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community.
“Mental health does not just mean the absence of mental illness or disorder. Just like good physical health, we must talk about good mental health,” said Dr Pratima Murthy, Director and Senior Professor of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) on Banega Swasth India World Mental Health Day special.
Mental Health In India
- WHO estimates that the burden of mental health problems in India is 2,443 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 1,00,00 population. DALYs for a disease or health condition are the sum of the years of life lost to due to premature mortality (YLLs) and the years lived with a disability (YLDs) due to prevalent cases of the disease or health condition in a population.
- The age-adjusted suicide rate per 1,00,000 population is 21.1.
- The economic loss due to mental health conditions, between 2012-2030, is estimated at $ 1.03 trillion.
- In 2017, 197.3 million people had mental disorders in India, including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9 million with anxiety disorders. This is as per The Lancet report of 2019 – “The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017”.
- The contribution of mental disorders to the total DALYs in India increased from 2.5 per cent in 1990 to 4.7 per cent in 2017.
National Tele Mental Health Programme
In her budget speech for 2022-23, FM Nirmala Sitharaman took cognizance of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of people. She said,
The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To better the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a National Tele-Mental Health Programme will be launched.
A National Tele-mental health programme will be launched.
This will include a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence with NIMHANS being a nodal centre & IIIT Banglore providing technology support: FM @NSitharaman Ji#AatmanirbharBharatKaBudget
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) February 1, 2022
As part of this, Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was launched on October 10, 2022. Tele-MANAS aims to provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas. The programme includes a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre.
A toll-free, 24/7 helpline number – 14416, has been set up across the country allowing callers to select the language of choice for availing services. Service is also accessible at 1-800-91-4416.
The Tele-MANAS has received 3.4 lakh calls since its launch in October last year with every three out of four callers belonging to the 18-45 age group, official data showed.
The Tele-MANAS programme is organised in a two-tier system: Tier 1 comprises state Tele-MANAS cells which include trained counsellors and mental health specialists. At present, 44 Tele MANAS cells are operating.
Tier 2 comprises specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)/Medical College resources for physical consultation and/or e-Sanjeevani for audio visual consultation.
This is one of the many government initiatives to support the mental healthcare needs of the citizens of the country. This is an attempt to bridge the gaps in infrastructure and manpower. WHO states that in India, (per 100,000 population) there are psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07), while the desirable number is anything above 3 psychiatrists and psychologists per 100,000 population.
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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 population, indigenous 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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual 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.