Updated on 14 October 2016
Dr Kersi Chavda, Consultant Psychiatrist P.D.Hinduja National Hospital, Hinduja Healthcare Hospital and Sir HNRF Hospital and Past President of the Bombay Psychiatric Society
Singapore: Despite of escalating number of mental health patients in the country, the subject of mental health illness, is still by and large a taboo topic for several Indians. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that globally over 450 million people suffer from mental disorders. Mental health is a complex and sensitive subject that needs to be addressed with compassion and knowledge.
Stigma towards, and discrimination against, people with mental disorders is an important barrier to mental health service utilization in India. It contributes to delay in seeking care, impedes timely diagnosis and treatment for mental disorders, serves as an impediment to recovery and rehabilitation, and ultimately reduces the opportunity for fuller participation in life.
Dr Kersi Chavda, Consultant Psychiatrist P.D.Hinduja National Hospital, Hinduja Healthcare Hospital and Sir HNRF Hospital and Past President of the Bombay Psychiatric Society, explained, "As a society prospers and the daily necessities of living are taken care of....there occurs a shift towards ensuring mental or psychological well being. Given that most studies that have been done in the field estimate that about a percentage of any population suffers from psychological disorders...this implies that in huge populations such as in India...there will be about 50 million affected people. Of these, it is estimated that half of the "severe" disorders are not dealt with (Schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, major depression), while in the "Milder disorders" the amount might be as much as 9 in 10!!!"
The Word Health Organization describes mental health as an integral part of health and well-being. As reflected in the definition of health in the Constitution: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Good mental health enables people to realize their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.
WHO statistics say the average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh people. Interestingly, doctors observe that suicide rate was higher among the southern States compared to those in the north. It is the second leading cause of death among those in the age group of 18-29, and most suicides in India are by those below 44 years.
Dr Chavda pointed out that India has the largest child/ adolescent population in the world, as well as the largest aging population.....given that the prevalence of psychological disorders in kids is estimated between 9.4 to 12.5 percent, this gives us a huge number of kids that need mental health services. The same is seen in the aging disorders (dementia, Alzheimer's)....and we can see that India basically is sitting on a psychological disordered "time bomb"!!!