According to World Health Organisation, the burden of mental health problems in India is 2,443 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 1,00,00 population. The Lancet report of 2019 – “The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017, stated that in 2017, about 197.3 million people had mental disorders in the country, including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9 million with anxiety disorders. 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, according to the Lancet report.
As India marks Mental Health Day, today (October 10), with the theme ‘Mental Health, a universal human right’ in bid to make Mental Illness a fundamental, undeniable right and make the world we live in more human, NDTV speaks with experts to know about the status of India – if the country has made any giant leaps or there is still a lot of ground to cover.
Joining the discussion, Dr Shyam Bhat, Psychiatrist and Chairperson, Live Love Laugh Foundation said,
We have made a lot of progress, we have also advanced a lot in terms of awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Our conversations has become much more about the topic. But the scale of the problem is very huge in our country. Almost, every family in India is dealing with some sorts of mental illness. There are about 200 million people in India who are suffering from mental health related problems such as depression or anxiety. Therefore, as a country it becomes very important to put in all our energies to deal with the problem and help with mental health prevention and treatment.
Highlighting the importance of acceptance and having a conversation around mental health problems, Anisha Padukone, CEO, Live Love Laugh foundation said,
Everything starts with acceptance for mental health issues. Once we are able to accept the illness and understand that mental illness can just be treated like any other diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, then only we can make some progress. In last 7-8 years, we have made some progress, we have started to talk about the issues but we have long way to go.
Sharing her own personal battle with depression and anxiety, Rachita Mohan, Public Relationship Specialist highlighted the importance of having a support system in life. She added,
I was lucky that my parents were very supportive in my journey. I think, having a support system is essential. In the beginning since many of my friends didn’t understand about my issues, I held myself back. People used to tell me that anxiety is a privileged problem. But thankfully, my family understood the issue and I got the right treatment at the right time. In past 8 years, we have made a lot of progress and come a long way, I don’t think so, I would have been in the position to talk about mental health related issues 8 years ago. So, yes there has been a tremendous progress that has been made in terms of awareness about the problem.
Talking about if the country has seen a paradigm shift in terms of mental health illnesses before and after COVID, Dr Bhatt added,
After COVID, people realised the fact that depression and anxiety just doesn’t happen to people who are different. They realised that it can happen to anyone and everyone. We also realised that it is okay to have issues related to mental health and it is perfectly normal to talk about the same. I think, COVID really helped in starting the conversation around mental health.
Lastly, Anisha Padukone, signed off by talking about the rural and urban divide when it comes to mental health, she signed off by saying,
The challenges are different in both rural and urban areas when we talk about mental health, therefore, the way we tackle the illness will be different. 70 per cent of our country’s population reside in rural areas, therefore, it becomes imperative to have programmes there as well. Though, India has started with the implementation of the programmes but we have really a long way to go when it comes to bridging the gap.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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.