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Address stigma in mental health

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to development of social sector involving healthcare etc


Source: The Hindu

Context: The Lancet released a new report calling for radical action to end stigma and discrimination in mental health on World Mental health day.


Key Highlights:

  • Negative impact: 90% of people living with mental health conditions feel negatively impacted by stigma and discrimination.
  • Worsening: 80% said stigma and discrimination can be worse than the condition itself.
  • Role of media: 90% of those surveyed felt that media could play a major role in reducing stigma.
  • One in eight people, nearly one billion people globally, are living with a mental health condition.
  • There was an estimated 25 per cent rise in the prevalence of depression and anxiety in the first year of the pandemic


Negative Impact of Stigma:

  • Social exclusion: It can cause social exclusion and disempowerment of people with mental health conditions.
  • Healthcare access: Problems in accessing healthcare
  • Employment: challenges in securing employment
  • Early death: Increased likelihood of health complications leading to early death.


Suggestions by Commission:

  • Immediate action by;
    • governments
    • International organizations
    • employers
    • healthcare provider
    • media organizations
  • Active contributions from people with lived experience: work together to eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination.


Indian context:

  • Reduction in stigma: There is a gradual reduction of stigma in the country, and it continues to be a real and present problem.
  • Women with a diagnosis of severe mental disorder: Women and their family members do face more stigma
    • It has ramifications for marriage and employment.


Ways to reduce stigma:

  • Social contact between people: with and without lived experience of mental illness is the most effective way to reduce stigma and discrimination.
  • All countries take action to decriminalise suicide: Reducing the stigma around suicide and leading to fewer occurrences.
  • Employers: They should have access to educational opportunities, work participation and return-to-work programmes.


The Lancet Global Health Commission: It is a group of 30 academics, policymakers, and health system stakeholders from 18 countries. The Commission reviews current knowledge, produces new empirical work, and offers policy recommendations.


Mental health: It is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.


Insta Links:

Mental Health at Work


Mains Links:

Q. Appropriate local community-level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieving ‘Health for All ‘in India. Explain. (UPSC 2018)