Budget 2023 and the future of mental health in India

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Budget 2023 and the future of mental health in India

The Union budget is a national phenomenon and is really important for the nation. Currently, our mental healthcare industry receives 1.4% of the total budget, around 670 crores. Out of this total, 630 crores are left to the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS) and Assam’s Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health. The rest 40 crore goes to National Mental Health Program (NMHP). NMHP supports 90% of the country’s mental health facilities.

The rising cases of mental disorders in the country are a concern. According to research, 14% of the total population in their lifetime will undergo some disorder in their life. This poses a problem with rising crime in the country as well. A lot of it is also due to a lack of awareness that many people do not know the state of their mental health and the treatment they can get as well. There needs to be a direction that the people of this country need and they can only get that when more emphasis on mental health is given. This can be done when the government solely implements programs or workshops on mental health. With the newer budget in sight, the government’s focus on mental health has become highly crucial.

Mental health has become a really important sector for the development of the nation. The country lacks professionals in this field as well as facilities. The cost of undertaking such services is also very high. It is estimated that over $1.03 trillion will be the cost of productivity lost due to mental health in the workforce. This demands reliable and cost-efficient avenues for mental health care & support. Once the funds have been set in place people can get the right treatment at affordable prices. Right now, it is difficult for an average person to take therapy sessions which costs around 1500-2000 rupees. And it is just not only one session that solves things, patients have to go through at least 10-20 sessions leading to a much larger total. Thus, this makes therapy only available for the affluent people of society and the poor suffer from their struggles as it is.

There are problems with the course material being sectioned out for mental health as well which is quite limited in the medical school curriculum. More emphasis on mental health needs to be given such that doctors are more aware of details regarding mental health and can educate their patients too. There are quite fewer colleges providing mental health education as well, which needs to be improved and cultivated in much larger numbers. Research and development in mental health are also not flourishing in how it is in other countries which are quite important for the future to come.

If society is educated about mental health it will lead to a more healthier and productive nation in the end. Thus, for enhancing the scope of mental health care in India, the budget does need to focus more on mental health, awareness, and research.

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