CONDOLENCES FOR INDIA…………ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

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“I was extremely conscious of being surrounded by people because if I need to break down where I could do that. I get this pettish feeling in my stomach. I woke up like feeling directionless, I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do and I had these bouts of feeling so low that I would just start crying at the drop of the hat. I don’t think I can say that I’m completely over it (depression). There is always a fear at the back of my mind that I might have a relapse because it has been such a bad experience for me” –Deepika Padukone

In 2015, Deepika Padukone shared the details of her sufferings when she was battling depression as in 2014; she was diagnosed with clinical depression.

It’s a rare moment if a person participates in a conversation about mental health. No surprise there. As they can become awkward or can even feel like being over friendly. Simply talking about talking about mental health can make some people anxious. But one needs to start somewhere. The number of people affected by poor mental health is increasing rapidly and the cases are too serious to ignore.

It might result in a shock to know that Depression is a common mental disorder and one of the main causes of disability worldwide as per WHO. An estimated 300 million people globally are affected by depression, according to WHO. And next what is revealed is a bigger shocker to know that more women are affected than men.

Every year October 10th is observed as World Mental Health Day, across the world. In 1992 it was first celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, it’s a global mental health organization with members in more than 150 countries. The major objective of World Mental Health Day is to surge awareness about mental health and the significance of mental health in the overall health of a person. The basic idea of this day is to empower all the people battling from mental health problems and induce encouragement among them to open up about it.

Mental health includes many illnesses within, and for the same, each year’s World Mental Health Day is based on themes to individually signify each of it. This year’s theme is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.”

POOR MENTAL HEALTH IS PANDEMIC

Early years of adulthood and adolescence are the period when major changes in life occur. Many welcome these changes with the open arm but there is the youngster who began stressing about the same. If these symptoms and little stress are not recognized and managed then these feelings can lead to mental illness.

 

Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases remain undetected and untreated. As per WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-to-29-year-olds. More than 90% of these suicides occur in low- or middle-income countries.

 But the data that is yet to be revealed is immensely agonizing and painful to hear.

  • The bipolar affective disorder affects about 60 million people worldwide.
  • Schizophrenia, one of a severe disorder affects about 23 million people worldwide.
  • Approximately 50 million people have dementia worldwide.

These data’s are revealed by the World Health Organization. Rapidly changing world means majority growing up on the internet, experiencing online bullying, watching violent or upsetting content, and being bombed with an endless stream of bad news and unachievable lifestyles to compare your own too. It has been noted by the World Federation for Mental Health that the cases of suicide and substance abuse have been steadily surging. Major isolation and loneliness are being battled by LGBTQ+ youth and young people still aren’t getting the proper support needed, hence resulting in major stress, so therefore it’s for the best that this year’s theme is “Young people and mental health in a changing world.”

OUR NATION IS AT WORST

Since ages, bad mental health has been ignored as a serious issue. But, do you know, depression can also lead to death if it gets worst? And next what you are going to hear will pull the rug out from under your feet. India has one of the highest prevalence of mental illnesses in the world. According to the World Health Organization India is the most depressed country in the world.

Approx 48 million children are stunted in India. India’s stance is so severe that approximately 56 million people are suffering from depression and 38 million from anxiety disorders, as per the reports by the World Health Organization. Mental distress is believed to be a major and crucial reason why one student commits suicide every hour in the country.

“Most people with depression are not suicidal, but most suicidal people are depressed. The youth are the future of our country and we need to act to prevent the devastating consequences of them losing their hope for the future. Problems appear too big, too difficult or embarrassing to overcome, and suicide may look like the only option. All threats of suicide must be taken seriously. Don’t try to argue them out of suicide and avoid guilt-inducing statements like ‘suicide will hurt your family’. Rather let them know that you care and want to understand, that they are not alone, and that problems and suicidal feelings are temporary – that depression can be treated and problems can be solved.” –Dr Sebolelo Seape, chairperson of the Psychiatry Management Group (PsychMG)

However, the narrow attitude of many Indians towards this problem isn’t helping. According to a survey total, 3,556 respondents from eight cities across India, astonishing 47% could be categorized of being highly judgmental of people suffering any mental illness. It has also been estimated by WHO that, in India, the economic loss, due to mental health conditions, between 2012-2030, is 1.03 trillions of 2010 dollars.

Mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population)

  • psychiatrists (0.3),
  • nurses (0.12),
  • psychologists (0.07)
  • social workers (0.07)

Presently nearly 6.5% of India’s population is suffering from a severe mental illness. And by 2020 the same data is expected to rise to 20% or shall say one in five people suffering from a mental illness. It has been claimed by psychiatrists that 90% of those who end their lives are likely to be suffering from a mental disorder.

HOW MUCH IS GOVT CONCERNED?

Despite of this entire shocking scenario, as compared to the rest of the world India spends much less on mental health issues. Total 0.06% of its health budget is devoted to mental health care. Not just this India has an acute shortage of professionals who can really help people battle mental disorders.

As per 1,00,000 mentally ill patients in the country, there are:

  • 30 psychiatrists,
  • 17 nurses,
  • 05 psychologists

It’s worrisome to know that the age profile of mental health patients is getting younger. Parents often find it difficult to engage adequately with children, due to work pressure and long working hours. It was published in the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, that nearly one in seven teenagers growing up in India’s metros could be suffering from mental health disorders.

COUNTRIES WITH GREATEST BURDEN

  1. India

According to a study reported by World health organization, it has been revealed that at least 6.5 percent of the Indian population is affected by the different mental illness that includes anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, with no visible rural-urban differences. Although there are effective measures but there is an extreme shortage of mental health workers like psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors. In 2014, it was reported as low as “one in 100,000 people.” Suicide rate on an average in India is 10.9 for every lakh people and the majority of people who commit suicide are below 44 years of age.

  1. China

91.8 percent of all Chinese people are battling with a mental disorder like depression as is estimated by WHO, will never seek help for their condition. The condition of China is quite similar to India’s. Only 2.35 percent of the budget is spent by the country on mental health.

  1. United States

As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the US about one in five adults each year experience some form of mental illness, but agonizingly only 41 percent of those affected received mental health care or services in the past year. Again there is the shortage of medical professionals. According to many people they just expect to get over the illness without spending a single penny on treatment.

  1. Brazil

In Latin America, Brazil has the maximum number of depressed individuals. Some crucial social factors that have especially affected this country such as violence, migration, and homelessness possibly add to a large number of people suffering from different types of depressive and anxiety disorders.

  1. Indonesia

Approximately 3.7 percent of the population, or let’s say nine million people in Indonesia suffer from depression. When those numbers are broadened to involve anxiety in it, then it rises up to 6 percent of the population over the age of 15.

  1. Russia

Russia’s 5.5 percent of the population has depression, according to the World Health Organization. The country’s rate of teenage suicide as reported in 2012 was three times higher than the world average, which clearly states the serious issue of poor mental health in Russia.

  1. Pakistan

You’ll be horrified to know that Pakistan, as reported in 2012, has only 750 trained psychiatrists. Due to high social stigma in the country the number of mental illness cases usually goes unreported, and hence the exact number of patients suffering from depression can’t be revealed.

MENTAL ILLNESS A STIGMA IN INDIA?

A charity called the Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) aims to create mental awareness for mental illness and to reduce the disgrace and shame associated with it, with a particular emphasis on stress, anxiety, and depression.

The Foundation authorized How India Perceives Mental Health: TLLLF National Survey Report 2018 to help measure India’s mental health outlook with the aim of exploring perceptions in India surrounding mental health and mental illness. Further the study explores the level of sensitivity, attitudes towards mental health, and the level of shame associated it.

In India, the following study took place across eight cities over a span of 5 five months and involved 3,556 respondents.

Three broad segments of people were revealed in the study based on their attitudes towards mental illness

 

The study revealed that 87% of the respondents showed some awareness of mental illness, 71% also used terms associated with stigma.

 

This shows although stigma and awareness are interlinked but are two separate issues.

 

In order to tackle the issue of mental illness in India, they need to be addressed in parallel.

If individuals continue to view mental illness with agitation and defiance, it will remain constantly difficult for people battling with mental health concerns to seek the support they require immediately due to the fear of being labeled or judged.

The acceptance of such people is must, that will comfort them and it might be possible that then they’ll urge to express their sufferings. And then it could be a way through which their illness could be deciphered.

India’s stance in the entire world is extremely poor. There is always a limit of carelessness but India has crossed it. There are people who cry every day from within just to seek help but are unable to get the support. India must be ashamed of itself because a country that always seeks support from India for some of the other issues is ahead of India in taking care of its citizens. India’s public health expenditure is 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) that in 2014 might have seen a marginal rise from 0.98%. That is way far behind low-income countries that spend 1.4% on an average. In fact, you’ll be grieved to know that India spends even less than some of its neighbors, according to the annual report released by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, such as

  • Bhutan (2.5%),
  • Sri Lanka (1.6%)
  • Nepal (1.1%)

Hence it’s clear that the government are more concerned about the bullet trains and international relations that its own citizens. It’s a really good advice for the government that sometimes it’s better to take small countries as an example because developed country’s major agenda is also developed but without involving its citizens.

A little can be done that government at least starts sending more on the doctors and the clinics so that it becomes easier of the patients to seek help. And not just that support of the society is immensely required, not just for showing sympathy but actually empathy would work that will pull the patients out from loneliness. If such minor thing could be achieved then no doubt we will definitely be able to decrease the number of suicide cases in our country.

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