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Four in Five Indians Suffering from Severe Mental Ailment Choose Not to Treat It

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on April 15, 2015 at 1:45 AM
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Four in Five Indians Suffering from Severe Mental Ailment Choose Not to Treat It

Mental health includes an individual's emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Any condition that impacts a person's thinking, feeling or mood that may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis is referred to as mental ailment. In India mental ailments still carry with it a heavy social stigma. Statistics reveal that four in five people suffering from severe mental ailment in India choose not to treat it. This causes early death by at least 15-20 years as compared to mentally healthy people.

Mental health experts said, "Among the several mental health ailments people suffer from severe depression, bipolar disorders and psychosis are the most common forms. People with mental illness die early due to smoking, obesity, heart illness, respiratory problems and cancer. Besides, they also die because they are usually ignored for routine check-ups or treatment for various problems."


Shekhar Saxena, director, department of mental health and substance abuse, World Health Organization (WHO), said, "Their family members are equally responsible as they should be more responsive to needs of mentally ill people."

The experts revealed that the mental doctor-patient ratio in India is one doctor for three lakh patients. Dr. Pratap Sharan, professor in the department of psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said, "Mental health services are very low-resourced in India with just 1% of the total health budget being spent on it. All the policies of the government, be it for education, employment, gender issues, or poverty alleviation, must be in favor of people with mental health problems. Mental health services must be enhanced and should not be limited only to the hospitals or mental health centers. The services must be rendered at the community level too. Finally, NGOs and civil societies must come forward in addressing this problem."

These findings were revealed at the symposium on 'Mental Health: Gender, Youth and Social Justice' organized by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in collaboration with the US-based Columbia university.

Source: Medindia

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