STAY STRONG INDIA!


Be it autism and intellectual disability in childhood, adult conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and psychosis or dementia at old age, India is facing a challenge in terms of mental illness. It is no exaggeration to suggest that our country is under a mental health epidemic.

 

COVID-19 is already taking its toll on the world, causing deaths, illnesses, and economic despair. The Coronavirus has changed how we work, play, and learn. Schools are closed, social interaction is negligible and many people have been asked to work from home.

Millions of people have filed for unemployment in the wake of stay-at-home mandates implemented to stop the virus’s spread. Millions of others who are still employed are now working at home, which brings its unique challenges.

 

The idea of not controlling an employee's time and not seeing them in the office daily feels like a loss of control and power, after all, remote working comes with its own set of difficulties. While one saves hours of travel time, issues relating to one’s mental well-being when working in confinement are also a serious concern. Although the majority of companies reported an increase in productivity during the lockdown, instances of anxiety, stress, and fatigue have also surfaced.

 

When it comes to a person's physical health, people are so conscious and aware. But when it comes to mental health, so many people aren’t even aware that they may be suffering from a form of mental health issues and the statistics show grim reality.

 

Presenting you with some facts in this regard:

1.     WHO states that the mental health workforce in India is not up to the mark and there is a huge shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists in the country as compared to the people suffering from mental health issues.

2.     India accounts for 36.6 % of suicides globally and that suicide and passed maternal mortality as the leading cause of death among women and teenage girls.

3.     WHO also estimates that about 7.5 % of Indians suffer from some mental disorder and predicts by the end of this year roughly 20 % of India will suffer from mental illness.

No wonder why WHO has labeled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’.

India doesn’t have a long history of discussing mental health. The scenario wasn’t very sound and Covid has further worsened the conditions. WHO states that in India, there are 0.3 psychiatrists, 0.12 nurses, and 0.07 social workers per lac people of population, while the desirable number is anything above 3 psychiatrists and psychologists per lac population.

 

India didn’t prioritize mental health before COVID-19. The country’s mental health system has been pushed to the limit. COVID has helped bring the issue of mental health out of the shadows.

 

Apart from the stigmas attached to mental illnesses, poverty in India is another factor why mental health couldn’t be prioritized. India is a rich land of poor people. Individuals who experience poverty, particularly early in life or for an extended period, are at an even higher risk. Low levels of income are associated with several lifetime mental disorders and suicide attempts. Therefore, mental health should be made affordable.

 

Awareness about mental health, availability of professional help, timely intervention by the Government, and effective policies is the only way to improve the current mental health scenario. Moreover, it is imperative to believe that people with mental illness deserve to live their lives with dignity and confidence. They should be encouraged to vent out their emotions to their close ones. It requires a collaborative private-public-social partnership to change the situation. This too shall pass.

 

Always remember:

‘You’re not broken, you’re just stuck.

Every little nudge gets you a little less stuck.

And one day you will be free.’

 

Signing off,

Riya Shakchi <3

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