Recently, a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur revealed that reporting of mental illness in India was less than 1%.

Major findings of the report:

  • It underscores a substantial underreporting compared to the actual disease burden which reveals a notable mismatch between identifying and addressing mental health issues.
  • It also highlighted that there is a socioeconomic divide between the richest income group population and the poorest population in India i.e., mental disorders are around 1.73 times higher in the richest income group.
  • The dominance of the private sector in mental health services is pronounced, accounting for 66.1% of outpatient care and 59.2% of inpatient care.
  • It highlighted limited health insurance coverage, with only 23% of individuals hospitalized for mental disorders having national-level health insurance.
  • Notably, out-of-pocket expenditures are high which exceeds in the public sector for both hospitalization and outpatient care in the private sector.

About Mental Illness:

  • It refers to the range of treatments and services given to individuals who are experiencing mental health disorders or issues.
  • The treatment of mental health issues can take a variety of forms, including therapy, medication, support groups, hospitalization, and other interventions.

Measures to deal with Mental Illness in India:

  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act: It recognizes mental illness as a disability and aims to bolster the rights and entitlements of disabled individuals.

Mental Healthcare Act: It is designed to protect the rights of those with mental illness and guarantee they receive appropriate mental healthcare services.

  • It acknowledges various rights, including access to treatment without discrimination, confidentiality, and access to legal services.

National Tele Mental Health Programme: To enhance access to high-quality mental health counseling and care services nationwide.

  • Alongside, the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) was instituted to ensure affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities throughout the country.
  • Mental health services have also been integrated into the Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) Scheme, now offering a comprehensive package of services.
  • Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Manodarpan Initiative was launched to provide psycho-social support to students, promoting their mental health and well-being. 
  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) has facilitated online capacity building for health workers through the (iGOT)-Diksha platform, focusing on providing psychosocial support and training.

Way forward:

  • Proactive measures: Prioritize preventive strategies, such as screening initiatives, counseling services, and the promotion of mental well-being through lifestyle interventions.
  • Community-centric approaches: Develop community-based mental health programs that offer psychosocial support, and rehabilitation, and foster social inclusion for individuals grappling with mental health challenges. 
  • Awareness and dimmish the social stigma: Launch comprehensive public awareness campaigns to enhance understanding and diminish the social stigma associated with mental illness.
  • Research and Data Management: Establish robust systems for data collection to effectively monitor the prevalence of mental disorders, track treatment outcomes, and analyze patterns in service utilization.

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