State Disaster Response Force has underlined that post-covid pandemic, mental health has been a “serious issue”. A 24×7 ‘Sukoon helpline’ has been launched to help out the people from depression or any mental health issue, the SDRF said.
As per Lancet, mental disorders are among the leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India but a systematic understanding of their prevalence, disease burden, and risk factors is not readily available at most places.
According to the National Mental Health Survey, the prevalence of mental disorders in adults over the age of 18 years was found to be about 10.6%. As per the major findings of the survey, the prevalence of mental morbidity is high in urban metropolitan areas; mental disorders are closely linked to both causation and consequences of several non-communicable disorders (NCD); nearly 1 in 40 and 1 in 20 persons suffer from past and current depression, respectively and Neurosis and stress related disorders affect 3.5% of the population and was reported to be higher among females (nearly twice as much in males).
The data also indicate that 0.9 % of the survey population was at high risk of suicide and that nearly 50% of persons with major depressive disorders reported difficulties in carrying out their daily activities.
The covid-19 pandemic aggravated the situation, leaving those having such issues to struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from what is basically and undeniable a disease which to a large extent is curable. What makes the challenge more difficult is stereotypes and prejudice such people face purely as a result from misconceptions about mental illness. As a consequence, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life—good jobs, satisfactory health care, and association with a diverse group of people.
Those having mental illness not only face the public stigma which is the reaction that the general population has towards them but also self-stigma which is defined as prejudice which they turn against themselves.
For providing affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities to the population, including the poor and underprivileged, the government needs to keep working to augment the infrastructure and also take more and more measures to ensure prompt awareness about the availability of the services like Sukoon helpline’ which offer guidance to persons (or their well-wishers) who are experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, panic attack, PTSD, adjustment disorder, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, mental health emergency and pandemic induced psychological stress.