Mental health is important for our overall well-being. It remains one of the most stigmatized topics in society. Especially in a society like India, which is rich in traditional and cultural values mental health is often not talked about and neglected due to a lack of education and awareness and other reasons for stigmas related to it.
During the covid 19 lockdown, the whole world saw an alarming increase in the rate of problems related to mental health due to various reasons such as loss of employment and loss of lives of loved ones. India was no exception in this case and saw a rapid increase in mental health issues such as fear, anxiety, severe depression, OCD, etc.
1) The Burden of Mental Health in India
India is the most populated country in the world it has a population of 1.4 billion people, surpassing China recently making it the 2nd most populated country in the world. With such a huge population the mental health issue is a matter of concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that India has the highest case related to mental health problems. Globally speaking, approximately 7.5% of the total population is affected by mental health disorders. Disorders like anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia ad Bipolar disorder are prevalent in rate.
2) Stigma and Cultural Barriers
One of the most problematic factors for mental health problems is the continued stigma and cultural beliefs of society regarding mental illness. The deep-rooted traditional values and attitudes toward mental health lead to shame and discrimination against those people who are suffering from mental health problems. There is still a large sector of society where families think its a taboo to talk about mental health and they prefer to keep it hidden for fear of judgment and isolation from society. Many people who are suffering from this illness dont seek any help which leads to causing more problems because undiagnosed illnesses get worse with a time of not being treated.
3) Urbanization and Lifestyle Changes
Like other countries in the world, India is also getting modernized a developed with time and so does the lifestyle. The fast-paced world, corporate, cut-throat competition in education, career, and long working hours has rapidly changed the dynamics of Indian society. There is a lack of work-life balance in people and the excessive use of technology such as smartphones, the internet, and social media has introduced several stressors and mental health challenges. All these life changes are causing problems such as fatigue, anxiety, isolation, etc . leading to the rise in mental health issues, in people living in urban cities.
4) Economic Implications
Majority of the mental health problems remain untreated, due to the individual and family suffering from both emotional and financial problems. If a person is not well how he is going to work for his family? In India, majority of households has a single person as the sole bread earner of the family, if that person is suffering from mental health problems there will loss of productivity in the family and both the infrastructure of the county. According to a study India will lose almost $1.03 trillion in the coming years because of untreated mental health problems.
6) Suicide Prevention
India is struggling with a high increase in suicide rate which is becoming quite common among youth. There are several factors behind that such as academic pressure, career tension, and financial issues. relationship problems that affect the mental of young people. Most of the cases remain untreated hence the bottling pressure sometimes becomes such severe it causes them to take drastic steps. More effective suicide prevention methods should be available for detecting and providing immediate help to those in need.
7) Importance of Family and Community Support
In India, family and society play an important in a person’s life. Forming a supportive relationship with families and the community
is necessary to address mental health issues. Creating awareness is important and educating people about mental health problems is the need of the hour against mental health problems,
8) Healthcare System Challenges
One of the major problems faced by mental health rebels is the lack of proper healthcare facilities. There is a shortage of proper mental health care services to address mental health problems. We are normalising what is necessary and eliminating the stigma attached to mental health in order to create a mentally healthier India. There is a lack of healthcare professionals to provide help. Insufficient funding o is also necessary in expanding the mental healthcare infrastructure so that people can access primary healthcare and support, especially in rural areas.
9) Importance of Mental Health Awareness
The most important step is to create awareness about mental health problems. In rural areas of India, there is a lack of proper education and facilities to avail care for mental health issues. majority of people are not aware of the problem their family members are suffering from which leads to further delay of diagnosis hence worsening the condition more.
There is a need for public campaigns, programs, and interventions in schools and the public so that lots and lots of people could be aware of mental health and will come forward to have an open discussion.
The need and importance of mental health care is very necessary in India. We need to create a more supportive society to make people understand mental health issues and how to care for their loved one who is suffering from the problem. People should know as caregivers how it is important to maintain their emotional well-being also because it can be a bit challenging for the caregiver of the person suffering from mental illness. The stigma attached to mental health can be eradicated by normalising what is necessary to create a mentally healthier India.