As per World Health Organization, 10-20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental health conditions, but a majority of them do not seek help or receive care.
Also a report by the world health body, estimated that 7.5% of Indians were afflicted with some mental illness. The WHO report also predicted that the proportion would go up to 20% in the coming years.
Last year, the Government informed the parliament that it conducted the National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) of India through the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, as per which the prevalence of mental disorders in adults over the age of 18 years is about 10.6%. Significant gender differentials exist with regard to different mental disorders. The overall prevalence of mental morbidity was higher among males (13.9%) than among females (7.5%); Prevalence of mental disorders/morbidity in age group 13-17 was 7.3%, 18 – 29 years: 7.5%, 30-39 years: 14.6%, 40-49 years: 18.4%, 50-59 years: 16.1% and 60 years and above: 15.1%.
The more things are supposed to change the more they remain the same.
Half of all mental health conditions start at age 14. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19 year-olds.
Furthermore, the findings of the National Mental Health Survey revealed that millions of young Indians aged between 13-17 years are in need of active interventions. These figures are alarming to say the least. But owing to the lack of discourse around mental well-being and the dread of experiencing bullying and stigma, it is additionally hard for the youth to open up and share what they might be going through. Moreover, in small towns across India, it is equally difficult to find proper resources or a psychologist. Let alone Jammu and Kashmir, all states and UTs across India spend little on mental health care. Against WHO norms, the mental health personnel remains paltry, to say the least.
The people 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 the prejudice which they turn against themselves.
Even in familial and societal setups where mental illnesses are recognised as bonafide problems, there is a taboo around seeking treatment. And a large section of people believe that seeking expert help, even if it is available, is not really needed. This mindset needs a change for a better future.
There are structural inadequacies that need finances and infrastructure to overcome. There are also immediate needs that are to be addressed on various fronts within a reasonable dispatch.