A nation-wide study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru found that nearly 150 million Indians are in need of active intervention to treat mental health disorders. The findings were released on Monday on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, under the guidance of the Union Ministry of Family Health and Welfare. They show that a shocking 70 per cent of the population in need of mental healthcare are not getting any kind of help.
The study — National Mental Health Survey — found that 13.7 per cent of Indians are in need of active intervention for one or more mental health issues. Primary data for the survey was collected from 12 States with a sample size of 34,802 adults and 1,191 adolescents. A pilot study was carried out in Kolar in Karnataka from January to November 2014.
To address the glaring treatment gap, B.N. Gangadhar, director of NIMHANS, who spearheaded the survey, suggested that mental health care be integrated with the public health care system. "Primary health cares should be strengthened to be able to handle mental health issues and to offer counselling and alternative treatments to patients," he said. He suggested adopting telemedicine to strengthen the system. "After patients visit hospitals in major cities, they can access and continue treatment through PHCs in their home towns through telemedicine," he said.
Mental morbidity high in metros
The study found that urban metros reported greater mental health issues than rural and urban non-metro areas. The prevalence of schizophrenia and other psychoses (0.64%), mood disorders (5.6%) and neurotic or stress related disorders (6.93%) was nearly 2-3 times more in urban metros.
1 in 20 suffer from depression
The prevalence of depression in the population is as high as 1 in 20. Depression was reported to be higher in females, in the age-group of 40-49 years and among those residing in urban metros.