According to the World Health Organization(WHO) there is a 10-25% life expectancy reduction in patients with severe mental health disorders. WHO has labelled India as the most depressing country.
These might be facts but they present the glaring reality of the stigma attached to mental health in India .
In India when a person feels anxiety or has panic attacks , they are described as doing drama to gain attention. If someone expresses desire to see a psychiatrist they are labelled as mad, lunatics by the society. Mental illness is not considered an illness , it is just seen as something which will become alright in a day or two. This mindset of people needs to undergo a change , they need to understand mental illness is an illness and it is real .
The stigma attached to mental illness prevents the ones who are suffering from seeking timely help which further worsens their condition.
Some steps to improve the situation are:
- First and foremost there is a need for empathy and sensitivity in people regarding mental health.
- There is a need to create awareness regarding mental disorders in India . Through the means of workshops, films, TV people must be made aware that mental illness is real .
- There is also a requirement of active policy intervention and resource allocation by the government.
- There should be creation of a peer network to connect patients with each other so that they are able to support each other.
- There should be an increase in the number of health personnel in the mental health care sector.
- There is a need for more counseling facilities especially in the rural sector and counseling centres for women with women doctors.
- There can be establishment of telephone based helpline numbers and mental health apps.
- School based programmes on mental health can improve and teach children about mental health.
Hence, immediate steps should be taken to deal with the menace of mental illness in India . Awareness should be created about mental health to reduce the discriminatory attitudes of people.