60 million Indians suffer from mental disorders

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mental disorders

Nearly 60 million Indians suffered from mental disorders, the welfare minister J.P Nadda in May 2016 informed the Lok Sabha. It is larger than South Africa’s entire population.

This statistics have been gathered from the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the year 2005 and that is the only latest report on India’s mental health.

Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia are common mental disorder in nearly 2 percent of Indian population and therefore the report showcases serious concerns. Whereas 50 million i.e. 5 percent of Indians suffer from anxiety and depression.

This data reveals the shocking number of people this depression is holding onto. On mental health care India only spends 0.06 percent of its health budget. The World Health Organisation ( WHO) report states that on mental health research, infrastructure, frameworks and talent pool the most developed nation spends more than four percent of their budget. To address mental healthcare the government has taken several initiatives.

A program was started in Bangaluru by “National Institute of Mental health and Neuro Sciences” (NIMHANS) so as to get an estimate of the number of mental patients as well as to get an insight to the utilization pattern of mental health services.  For its research analysis since the inception of the program it has interviewed over 27,000 respondents. At the district and block level it is very important that India deal with the shortage of mental health professionals.

Nationally today there are 1500 psychiatric nurses, 850 psychiatric social workers,3800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists and 3800 psychiatrists only. According to WHO per million people there are three psychiatrists. This is 18 times lesser than the commonwealth norm of 5.6 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. In the last month the Mental Health Care Bill was passed and is a ray of hope. It aims to provide protection and promotion of person with mental illness.

In the Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2016 the bill was passed by a voice vote unanimously.  For every centre of mental health the Bill increases funding from Rs 30 crore to Rs 33.70. In To address the shortage of mental health professionals worldwide as of now 15 centers of excellence in mental health and 35 post graduate training departments in mental specialties.

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