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UPSC Sansad TV: Prioritize your Mental Health





Status of Mental health in India:

  • According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes about 15% of the total disease conditions around the world.
  • The same estimate also suggests that India has one of the largest populations affected from mental illness.
  • As a result, WHO has labelled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’.
  • Moreover, between 1990 to 2023, one in seven people from India have suffered from mental illness ranging from depression, anxiety to severe conditions such as schizophrenia, according to a study.

Importance of mental health:

  • Emotional and mental health is important because it’s a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions.
  • Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school or caregiving.
  • It plays an important part in the health of your relationships, and allows you to adapt to changes in your life and cope with adversity.
  • Our mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional and social well-being. This means it impacts how we feel, think and behave each day.
  • Our mental health also contributes to our decision making process, how we cope with stress and how we relate to others in our lives.
  • Global burden of mental health will be well beyond the treatment capacities of developed and developing countries.
  • The social and economic costs associated with growing burden of mental ill health focused the possibilities for promoting mental health as well as preventing and treating mental illness.

States must act too on spending on Health sector:

  • Many psychological problems and important consequences in terms of mental health including stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, uncertainty during COVID-19 outbreak emerged progressively.
  • Undoubtedly the budgetary allocation for health needs to be ramped up over time.
  • We also have to ensure adequate fundsfor critical and closely-linked sectors such as nutrition, water and sanitation.
  • The onus of increasing health spending, however, does not lie with the Centre alone but also with the States also.
  • In fact, as elucidated in theNational Health Accounts 2017, 66% of spending on health care in India is done by States.
  • It is imperative, therefore, that States increase expenditureon health to at least 8% of their budget by 2022 as recommended by the National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 and the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Stigma of mental illness

  • Mental illnesses include anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders and eating disorders.
  • The majority of suicides in the world are related to psychiatric problems or to the illnesses listed above.
  • Death by suicide is a complex phenomenon and not fully reported
  • At one point of time the stigma of mental illness was all around the globe. It still exist all around the globe, but is significantly less in Europe, US and some of the developed countries because of the awareness programmes and the science having reached.
  • In some parts of Asia and Africa the stigma still continues.
  • 100 or 150 years ago society was not concerned about the welfare of people with mental illness. They were put in asylums and mental hospitals for the society’s safety. In the last 50 years treatment methods are available for mental illness which is significant in the last 20 years.
  • Respecting the human rights of the persons who are living with mental illness is important. One of the notable examples is the depression and their commonly noted complication is the suicide behaviour.

Reasons for degenerating mental health of late:

  • The first and foremost reason for India to lose its mental health is the lack of awareness and sensitivity about the issue.
  • There is a big stigma around people suffering from any kind of mental health issues.
  • They are often tagged as ‘lunatics’ by the society. This leads to a vicious cycle of shame, suffering and isolation of the patients.
  • According to WHO, in 2011, there were 0·301 psychiatrists and 0·047 psychologists for every 100,000 patients suffering from a mental health disorder in India.
  • Treatment gap: According to estimates nearly 92% of the people who need mental health care and treatment do not have access to any form of mental health care.
  • The economic burden of mental illness contributes significantly to the treatment gap in India.
  • Violations of human rights have been reported in mental asylums and also at homes and places of traditional healing. In India, mental hospitals still practice certain obscure practices that violate human rights.
  • Further poor infrastructure such as closed structures, a lack of maintenance, unclean toilets and sleeping areas etc clearly violate the basic human right to a life with dignity.


  • There needs to be a road map for mental health awareness.
  • Stigma and Awareness need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness in India.
  • If individuals continue to view mental illness with apprehension and resistance, it will remain difficult for people with mental health concerns to seek the support they require due to the fear of being labelled or judged.
  • WHO says if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.
  • In conclusion, be kind, compassionate and empathetic towards all. Everyone is fighting their own battle, some more silently than others. It’s time to add value and enrich one another’s lives.
  • Mental Illness is real, hard, disabling and needs addressal and treatment. People should seek professional help as soon as the need arises.
  • Early detection and intervention of a psychological condition will allow you to live the life you deserve.
  • It is high time that industry and private sector companies set up counselling facilities.
  • The application of big data and crowd sourcing ideasmay help us in informed decision-making.

SANSAD TV 24-4-24