Lack of awareness causes mental illness in over 6% Indians


New Delhi: Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday presented stats in Rajya Sabha mentioning that over six percent of Indian citizens had a mental illness like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders due to lack of awareness. The National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health had conducted an assessment back in 2005, which revealed that approximately 75 million people in India had mental disorders like stress, depression and anxiety.

“In 2005, the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health reported that 10-20 million (1-2 percent of population) suffered from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and nearly 50 million (5 percent of the population) from common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, yielding an overall estimate of 6.5 percent of the population,” the Union Minister wrote to Rajya Sabha, according to a newspaper.

Though, the Union Minister mentioned that the data was examined in 2015, thus, a possibility of change in figures must be there due to changed lifestyle. He also gave the reasoning for the high ratio saying that the lack of awareness of symptoms of mental disorder is one of the biggest problems. The majority of the people suffering from mental disorders in India are unaware of them suffering from such illness.

There is a need to make people alert about such disorders and also treat patients suffering from it. Nadda mentioned that institutes and hospitals which treat such patients can be helpful. There are three centrally-run mental health institutes, 40 state-run medical hospitals and 398 departments of psychiatry in various medical colleges (183 in government and 215 in private) in rural and urban areas. Adding to the list, he also listed District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) (in 241 districts in all the 36 states/UTs) has been started by the government to treat mentally ill citizens. The DMHP offers help in school, workplace and also gives counselling on suicide prevention etc.

Moreover, common apprehensions of the illness are said to be emptiness or feeling sad or anxious, feeling hopeless or negative, irritability or restlessness, lack of interest in hobbies and other activities, loss of appetite and hallucinations in the case of schizophrenia. If one seems to have similar symptoms then there are chances one suffering from mental disorder and should consult a doctor.