“It’s all in your head”, “Don’t over think”, “Just go out for a walk, meet your friends, you’ll feel better”.
These are statements one hears when one is feeling sad, low or morose.
But these are also statements that people suffering from mental illnesses hear, time and again.
The problem with these statements is that, IT IS all in the HEAD.
THE SITUATION OF MENTAL HEALTH IN INDIA
Mental health, as an issue was never really considered to be of grave importance in India. Physical ailments always got precedence over mental health issues.
These issues are on one hand, trivialized and clubbed in with feelings of temporary sadness. On the other hand, people with mental health issues are considered to be ‘crazy’ or to put it crudely, ‘mentally retarded’.
However, mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc are all very common amongst people of all ages and classes in India.
According to a data journalism website called IndiaSpend, 60 million Indians suffer from mental disorders.
MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN INDIA
Mental health care facilities in India are dismal. Spending only 0.06% of its total health budget on mental health care, India ranks below a lot of countries in terms of access to mental health care.
There is a major paucity of professionals like psychologists and psychiatrists in India with only 0.30 psychiatrists and 0.05 psychologists available to every 1,00,000 Indians suffering from mental disorders.
Adding to this is the fact that getting psychiatric help will burn a whole in one’s pocket. An average session of an hour with a general psychiatrist costs between Rs 1200-3000 depending on the stature of the professional, the stage of the disorder and the duration of therapy.
The cost of medicines and prolonged specialized treatment further increase these expenses.
CLASSIST ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE?
Issues circling mental health are often considered to be taboos across classes. People fear being labelled as ‘mentally sick’. Dialogues like, “log kya kahenge” and “yeh toh paagal hai” often resonate.
The bitter truth however, remains that different classes have differential access to mental health care in India. A lot of people who are economically backward and are suffering from mental illnesses don’t get access to mental health care as it is extremely expensive.
Lack of awareness, superstitions and resources all become hurdles for access to mental health care for these classes.
THE COST OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN INDIA
ORGANISATIONS THAT WORK FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE
Apart from the private professionals who provide mental health care, many NGO’s and organizations deal with people who are suffering from mental health issues.
Organizations like Sanjivini Society for Mental Health, MANAS, ROSHINI etc.
Additionally, there are help lines which have been set up by a lot of these organizations which are open for all.
Deepika Padukone’s organisation called The Live, Laugh, Love Foundation also aims to provide mental health care to all.
Image Sources: Google Images
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