The New Normal of Wellness: The Spotlight on Mental Health

Written by Sonali Maheshwari

COVID-19 “Health and Wellness” sets the tone for a new normalcy. Wellness does not mean just the absence of illness It is the active presence of wellness. It is a globally known fact that mental health is an important component of overall well-being. There is no denying the fact that it is very important to intervene as soon as possible to save lives from any disease. And the same is true for people with mental illness.

However, in a country like India, mental health problems are deeply rooted in stigma and fear of expulsion. Often, due to misconceptions / myths about mental health and mental well-being, as well as lack of access, affordability and awareness, people often suffer in silence and their condition is not treated. Therefore, treatment is a major problem in Indian mental health care. Intervals, or the number of people with the illness who need treatment but do not receive it. “

The Lancet study found that India’s contribution to global suicide deaths increased from 25.3% in 1990 to 36.6% among women in 2016 and from 18.7% in men to 24.3% in 2016. According to The Global Burden of Disease Study (1990-2017), one in seven Indians suffered from various types of mental illness in 2017, and the proportion of mental illnesses contributing to total illness in India has almost doubled since 1990.

The Lancet reported in its study “State-Based Mental Health Assessment” that approximately 45 million people suffer from mental health disorders, and most Indian states where a large portion of the population has a low progress performance in the index. It states that an average of 14 per cent of Indians suffer from a variety of mental health disorders. The report further states that mental disorders mainly start in childhood and adolescence, with the highest incidence of the disease being caused by Idiopathic Developmental Intellectual Disability (IDID), followed by Conduct Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Among the mental disorders that manifest mainly in adulthood, the highest incidence of the disease in India was depression and anxiety disorders, followed by schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Central and northern states of the country. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated in Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and West Bengal.

Although the above data shows the state of mental health of the nation. Its positive relationship with the economic growth of the country is also an established fact. Estimates show that India will face huge economic losses due to mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization, the burden of mental health problems per 2,443 disability-compatible life years per 100,000 population. And economic losses due to mental health, between 2012 and 2030, 1. 1.03 trillion 2010 The National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) further states that mental health disorders disproportionately affect families with low incomes, low education and low employment. . These vulnerable groups face financial constraints due to their socio-economic status, which is exacerbated by the limited resources available for treatment.

All sorts of strategies, such as publicity, prevention and early intervention, will have the greatest impact on the population in a nation where the mentally ill and their situation are being aggravated by socio-economic and cultural factors to prevent the main causes of non-communicable disease. Health and well-being.

To address this growing and already serious problem, the Government of India has taken important steps, such as the introduction of the Mental Health Policy, 2014 and the Rights-Based Mental Health Act, 2017. Keeping mental health as an issue in initiatives such as the National Adolescent Health and Development Program, 2016 and its initiatives. Ayushman Bharat, 2018.

For the successful implementation of the MHA 2017 Act, aspects such as initial prevention, reintegration and rehabilitation need to be continuously strengthened with more important and dedicated efforts. Therefore, mental health practitioners need a dedicated focus on building strong infrastructure, including registration and acknowledging the extent of the problem and implementing service-delivery rules. Second, although the new Mental Healthcare Act 2017 is supposed to change the basic approach to mental health issues, including an intelligent and sensitive patient-centered healthcare, it seems to have missed the desired attention to the elements of prevention and early screening. Also thematic integration into the core program will certainly contribute to raising awareness about the issue.

But given the severity of the problem (in a country of 1.3 billion people, 10% have one or more mental problems, according to NIMHANS mental health survey results) it is important to mainstream the issue with a holistic approach . To engage the Indian population in their own mental health, it is pertinent to address their demand side barriers by raising their mental health awareness.

Strengthening the whole ecosystem with accurate information and awareness Mental health should be transformed from a theme to a mainstream subject for classroom study. As soon as possible, children must know the concepts of anxiety, stress and most importantly that everyone is likely to feel it in life and that is normal. They also need to be taught about its management. They should be told the importance of sharing, listening, expert service and counseling. They should be taught about the causes and symptoms of stress and its management with age appropriateness, about the life skills needed to talk about their symptoms, seek help and not feel ashamed. Most importantly they need to be aware that mental health problems are curable. These teachings will prevent them from engaging in drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and other life-threatening activities.

Also, caregivers / parents need to be aware of the concept of self-awareness, mental health and seeking help. They will also be encouraged to break the cycle of shame and stigma associated with mental health. Ultimately looking at the lack of investment in research and methodological studies will help create the idea of ​​more conscious and empowering interventions to facilitate prevention where possible and to provide affordable treatment, care, and rehabilitation.

Through all these concerted efforts, awareness can be expected at all levels of the ecosystem that will lead to early recognition of symptoms and access to treatment as well as preventive measures.

(The author is a social development professional. She has extensive experience advocating and implementing community intervention for developmental themes such as child sexual abuse, adolescent health and development, gender equality, women’s empowerment, wash, livelihoods, and maternal and child health and nutrition. The opinions expressed do not reflect the official position or policy of Personal and Financial Express Online. Reproduction of this content without permission is prohibited).

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