The Scenario Of Mental Health Care In India
By: Jasmine Marfatia
Published On: November 23, 2018
We explore the barriers to mental healthcare in India, and what we can do to overcome them.
Mental health is a major concern that affects all age groups worldwide, yet it is one of the least discussed subjects. There are over 200 mental health disorders that people can be affected by at varying degrees.
Some of the more common ones are depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, addiction, and the less common ones include obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar, autism, and schizophrenia, among many.
In 2018, the World Mental Health Day was themed around mental healthcare for the youth and young adults in a world that is undergoing a lot of change. Glaring social issues like cyber bullying, mental and physical abuse in schools and workplaces, lack of body positivity, rise in suicide cases, substance abuse, and violence towards the LGBTQ community, were some of the topics that were discussed.
In 2017, the theme revolved around awareness of depression, which is one of the most common mental health disorders today. The theme was titled ‘Depression: Let’s talk’, probably because we don’t talk about it enough. The main reason being the stigma around mental disorders.
Stigma around mental illness
The people around you deeply affect how you feel about your condition. On one hand you’ll have people saying that they're here for you and that you’ll come out of it eventually (even if they mean well), and on the other hand you’ll have someone telling you to quit this “cry for attention”.
In both cases, the consequence is suppression of depression. This can lead to a host of other problems, both mental and physical. Depression increases a person’s risk of substance use disorder, as well as hikes up the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. And the worst of all is the ultimate consequence - suicide, which is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.
One viable way to combat the stigmatism is by getting a deeper understanding of what each mental health disorder entails, how it affects a sufferer, and the steps one should take to treat it, or even bring it under control.
What awareness campaigns should really seek to impact is the number of sufferers who not only acknowledge their mental illness, but also seek help to overcome it. Hopefully, it will reduce the tainted impression that people have of the sufferers, and it will foster an ambiance where they feel comfortable talking about it, and consequently address it in a healthy way.
But the real problem arises when people who are actually suffering the mental disorder are unable to access the treatment that will help them lead a healthy life, one day at a time.
Why? The two main reasons are the stigma around mental health, and the high cost of treating it. Anyone who has ever sought professional mental health care would know that it is extremely expensive, such that even financially stable families would find it tough to bare the cost.
Mental illness, just like any other illness requires treatment from qualified doctors, therapists, and counselors. Unfortunately, there are very few mental health facilities in India today.
This inadequacy is seen not only in rural and underdeveloped parts of the country, but also in urban India. Just as crowdfunding has helped people get treatment for expensive illnesses, mental health disorders too, can be afforded by raising funds through crowdfunding for mental health treatment.
How crowdfunding can make a difference
Setting up more mental health facilities
There are many parts of the country who haven’t even heard of mental health. As a crowdfunding India campaigner with Impact Guru, you can raise funds to set up more mental health hospitals in the cities, as well as remote areas. Even small clinics would be a step in the right direction.
Improving technology and equipment in mental health centres
Quality treatment is extremely important, because dealing with someone who has a mental illness can be quite tricky. The infrastructure, technology, and equipment must be the latest available, to ensure quality treatment.
Hiring hospital staff
Aside from doctors of course, other employees and staff of a hospital must be adequate and if a hospital is finding it difficult due to funding limitations, crowdfunding will always be a good option.
Special recovery and rehabilitation centres
Aside from mental health hospitals and clinics, even recovery and rehabilitation is an important part of mental health. We have very few rehabilitation facilities. Through crowdfunding, more such facilities can be built.
Mental healthcare scenario in India
As for the scenario of mental health in India, the parliament passing the Mental Health Care Bill in 2017 that was proposed by the Union Health Minister, is a progressive step in acknowledging and beating the stigma around the subject.
As per the directives of this bill, every person will have access to mental health care services that are run by the Government. In working towards the improvement of mental health facilities, we will hopefully be able to change the narrative and stigma around mental illness, that is the only way to encourage sufferers to come out and speak about their problems, and get professional help to overcome it.
Combining the improvements in the mental healthcare bill, with effective online fundraising can empower us to raise funds for mental health treatment, just like they would for any other illness or disease.
The first step begins with people around you. There might be someone you know who is fighting a battle in their head everyday. You can help them get help. Help them raise funds by starting a crowdfunding campaign and mobilizing people to help your loved one get treated.
In addition, being aware is the key to solving any problem. You can even start a fundraiser to host an event that spreads awareness about mental disorders like depression and anxiety, and guide people in the right direction for treatment.
We suggest you also read:
World Mental Health Day: Two Psychologists Narrate Experiences And Call Out The Glaring Gaps In India’s Education System
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