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Lack of awareness causes mental illness in over 6% Indians

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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.

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Rising Awareness Among Indians Towards Mental Health

The healthcare map, which highlights key consumer healthcare trends, concerns and behaviour, has been compiled from thousands of searches and appointments, by over 13 crore patients, across more than 50 cities and over 250 specialties, in 2018.

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A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states that 7.5 per cent of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental concern or disorder. Pixabay

While mental health has often remained a widely ignored topic and a taboo in the Indian society, a new report shows over 80 per cent rise in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues, especially in tier-2 cities.

According to domestic digital healthcare platform Practo’s annual healthcare map, there has been 82 per cent increase in the appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists in tier-2 cities — Indore, Kanpur, Nagpur, Jaipur, Vishakapatnam, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad and Patna.

People in these cities sought help mostly for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marriage counselling, stress, de-addiction and anger management among others.

mental health
“This indicates that unhealthy lifestyle habits, long working hours and work-life imbalance are taking a toll on people and their mental health,” the Practo report said.
Pixabay

“It is a common belief that mental issues are mainly arising in metro cities owing to the stressful lifestyles. However, the non-metro cities are also in immediate need for access to mental healthcare,” Aparna Mahesh, psychotherapist at Practo, told IANS.

“The sharp increase in the number of physical appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists in these towns and cities clearly indicates that Indians beyond metros are seeking timely help to address their concerns rather than ignoring or self-medicating,” Mahesh added.

In tier-1 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad — a 24 per cent increase was seen in the appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states that 7.5 per cent of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental concern or disorder.

 

mental health
“It is a common belief that mental issues are mainly arising in metro cities owing to the stressful lifestyles. However, the non-metro cities are also in immediate need for access to mental healthcare,” Aparna Mahesh, psychotherapist at Practo, told IANS.
Pixabay

“This indicates that unhealthy lifestyle habits, long working hours and work-life imbalance are taking a toll on people and their mental health,” the Practo report said.

Further, it was found that Indians visited their doctors 3.2 times a year in 2018, up from 2.7 times in 2017. Gynaecology, dermatology and paediatrics emerged as top three specialties where most visits occurred.

Also Read: Indian Consumers Cautious of Data Misuse Through Technological Devices

This is, however, lower than Japan where patients visited doctors 13 times or the US where visits to doctors were a little over four times in 2018.

The healthcare map, which highlights key consumer healthcare trends, concerns and behaviour, has been compiled from thousands of searches and appointments, by over 13 crore patients, across more than 50 cities and over 250 specialties, in 2018. (IANS)