Never before have we been talking about mental health and how we can better it more than we do today. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), owing to the pandemic and other influential factors, the number of patients with one or more mental illnesses would touch 20 per cent in the country. Today, roughly 56 million Indians suffer from depression and 38 million from some or the other anxiety disorder.
Globally, India has one of the highest occurrences of mental illnesses. The National Mental Health Survey of 2016 reported that about 14 per cent of India’s population needed active mental health interventions. About two lakh Indians die of suicide each year and if we take into account the number of attempted suicides, the statistics will be even higher.
An analysis based on genders revealed that more women suffered from mental health disorders than men. About 3.8 per cent of men and three per cent of women suffered from anxiety disorders due to bullying and victimisation. Five per cent of men and 8.3 per cent of women were vulnerable due to childhood sexual abuse.
Yet, the Indian government spends less than one per cent of the health budget on mental healthcare. This amount is only spent on doctors, drugs, and hospitals in urban areas because of which about 70 to 92 per cent of those affected by mental health issues don’t have access to any care from any sources. On top of that, India has a severe shortage of mental healthcare providers. We have 0.3 psychiatrists and two mental health workers for every one lakh individuals.
It is important to note that if left untreated, mental illness, just like physical ones, may have debilitating effects on the life of an individual. Today, many mental illnesses can be treated with the help of therapy, drugs, and community support. A solid treatment plan can help an individual to excel, live a productive life, have a successful career, and just perform their everyday activities with ease.
Caring for those with mental health conditions
We all go through tough times in life and sometimes asking for help to get through these moments seems like the hardest thing to do. You can help yourself or someone else you care about by recognising the warning signs of mental health problems. You can play a big role in the recovery process by encouraging treatment, not being judgemental, letting the individual share as much or as little as they feel like, and talking about their overall well-being.