Better mental health

The central government informed parliament during the ongoing winter session that as per the National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) conducted by the Government through National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore in 12 States of the country, the prevalence of mental disorders including common mental disorders, severe mental disorders, and alcohol and substance use disorders (excluding tobacco use disorder) in adults over the age of 18 years is about 10.6%.

Furthermore, the findings 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.

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.

For providing affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities in the country, the

Government says it is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the country.

The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) component of the NMHP has been sanctioned for implementation in 738 districts for which support is provided to States/UTs through the National Health Mission. Facilities made available under DMHP at the Community Health Centre(CHC) and Primary Health Centre(PHC) levels, include outpatient services, assessment, counselling/ psycho-social interventions, continuing care and support to persons with severe mental disorders, drugs, outreach services, ambulance services etc. In addition to above services there is a provision of 10 bedded in-patient facility at the District level.

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.

The Government needs, among others, to augment the availability of manpower to deliver mental healthcare services in the underserved areas by providing online training courses to various categories of general healthcare medical and para medical professionals.

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