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India Might Be Moving Towards A Mental Health Epidemic Says President Kovind

While inaugurating the World Congress of Mental Health, President Kovind quoted the WHO stats and said that India has one of the highest prevalence of mental illness in the world. This is alarming and might be indicating the possibility of a mental health epidemic in the country soon.

India Might Be Moving Towards A Mental Health Epidemic Says President Kovind

India might be at risk of a mental health epidemic in the future

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. India might be moving towards a potential risk of a health epidemic
  2. 90% of the people suffering from mental illness get no medical care
  3. India has one of the highest prevalence of mental illness in the world

President Ram Nath Kovind, on Thursday, warned that India might be moving towards a potential risk of a health epidemic in the future. This is because of the fact that over 90 per cent of the people suffering from mental health issues received no medical care for their illness.

While inaugurating the World Congress of Mental Health, President Kovind quoted the WHO stats and said that India has one of the highest prevalence of mental illness in the world.

"Our National Mental Health Survey, 2016 found that close to 14 percent of India's population required active mental health interventions. About two per cent suffered from severe mental disorders," President Kovind said.


It was found that nearly 2 lakh Indians take their own lives each year and if we take the number of people who attempted suicide but failed, the numbers would increase substantially.

"These are worrying statistics. It is also a fact that those living in metropolitan cities and those who were young whether in the productive age group, or children and teenagers are most vulnerable to mental illnesses, he added.

He revealed that both the factors were a cause of concern because over 65% of Indian population is below 35 years of age.

"And our society is rapidly urbanising. This leaves us staring at a possible mental health epidemic," he said.

He said that it is ironical because given that such a large chunk of the population is dealing with the ailment and, yet most people have not received medical assistance for the same.

"There are several reasons for this and I hope they will be addressed in this conference," he said.

President Kovind laid stress on the correct approach for dealing with these issues.

"The biggest obstacle that mental health patients have to encounter is stigma and denial. This leads to the issue being ignored or simply not discussed. In some cases it leads to self-diagnosis that is unsuitable or could worsen the situation. It may even lead to other extreme steps," he said.

He said that the country needs to fight this cultural stigma positively.

"We need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured-not as guilty secrets that must be pushed under the carpet," he said.

Another factor of concern was the shortage of doctors and councilors for the same.

"A second major gap in combating the mental health challenge is that of human resources. India is a country with 1.25 billion people but just seven hundred thousand doctors less than one million," he noted.

He even revealed the stats saying that in the sect of mental health, the scarcity is acute. The country has only 5000 psychiatrists and only 2000 clinical psychologists.

"We need to act," he said, explaining how the shortage is alarming and needs to be dealt with.

"It is vital to tap into our wealth of traditional knowledge and link its learning to modern research on mental health. This will promote a holistic approach to mental healthcare, combining the best of different fields of practice," he said.

"From traditional diseases, it is gradually non- communicable diseases that are emerging as a major threat to our people and their well being. This is part of a worldwide trend. And many non-communicable diseases are either rooted in or associated with mental health issues," he said.

The conference will be attended by a thousand delegates with over 300 delegates from around the world. 



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