Self-Reporting of Mental Illness in India |

Self-Reporting of Mental Illness in India


A study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur revealed that self-reporting of mental illness was less than 1% in India.

What is Mental Healthcare?

∙ Mental health care refers to the range of services and treatments provided to individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges or disorders. 

∙ Mental health care can take many different forms, including therapy, medication, support groups, hospitalization, and other interventions.

The findings of the study

∙ Low Self-Reporting: Self-reporting of mental disorders in India is considerably lower than the actual burden of the disease indicating a significant gap in identifying and addressing mental health issues.

∙ Socioeconomic Disparities: The study revealed a socioeconomic divide, with self-reporting of mental disorders being 1.73 times higher among the richest income group population compared to the poorest in India.

∙ Dominance of the Private Sector: With 66.1% of outpatient care and 59.2% of inpatient care, the private sector emerged as a major provider of mental health services.

∙ Limited Health Insurance Coverage: About 23% of individuals hospitalized for mental disorders had health insurance coverage at the national level.

∙ High Out-of-Pocket Expenditure: The average out-of-pocket expenditures for both hospitalization and outpatient care were significantly higher in the private sector as compared t1o the public sector.

Mental Healthcare in India

∙ National Tele Mental Health Programme: It was launched in 2022 to improve access to quality mental health counseling and care services in the country. 

∙ National Mental Health Programme (NMHP): It provides affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities in the country.

∙ National Suicide Prevention Strategy: The strategy aims to reduce suicide mortality by 10% in the country by 2030.

∙ Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017: The Act acknowledges mental illness as a disability and seeks to enhance the Rights and Entitlements of the Disabled.

∙ Mental Healthcare Act, 2017: It is aimed at safeguarding the rights of people with mental illness and ensuring that they receive proper mental healthcare services.

∙ Rights of Persons with Mental Illness: The act recognizes the rights of persons with mental illness, including the right to access mental health care and treatment without discrimination, the right to confidentiality, the right to access legal services, etc.

∙ Advance Directives: It allows individuals to make advance directives specifying how they wish to be treated in the event of a mental health crisis.

∙ Prohibition of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): The act prohibits the use of electroconvulsive therapy without the use of muscle relaxants and anesthesia.

∙ The act decriminalised suicide attempts in India. 

∙ Manodarpan Initiative: An initiative under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, aims to provide psycho-social support to students for their mental health and well-being.

∙ Ayushman Arogya Mandirs: Mental health services have been added in the package of services Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) Scheme.

∙ Online capacity building of health workers by NIMHANS in providing psychosocial support and training through (iGOT)-Diksha platform.

Way Ahead

∙ Promote Awareness and Reduce Stigma: Public awareness campaigns should be conducted to increase understanding and reduce stigma surrounding mental illness. 

∙ Early Intervention: Emphasis should be placed on preventive measures like screening programs, counseling services and promotion of mental well-being through lifestyle interventions to address mental health issues before they escalate.

∙ Community-Based Interventions: Community-based mental health programs should be developed to provide psychosocial support, rehabilitation, and social inclusion for individuals with mental illness. 

∙ Research and Data Collection: Robust data collection systems should be established to monitor the prevalence of mental disorders, treatment outcomes, and service utilization patterns.

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