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What are some important facts about mental health?

Team AckoOct 14, 2022

The onset of a mental health issue rarely shows physical symptoms. Rather it may begin with irritability, mood swings, or social isolation. Thus, it is common for others to label this issue as "just a phase". However, mental illness is a disease that requires medical attention and timely treatment. Through the following article, we want to shed light on eight important facts about mental illness and mental health.

Important Facts About Mental Health

Contents

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What is mental health?

Emotional, psychological, and social well-being all fall under the mental health category. It influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It also impacts how we interact with people, manage stress, and make decisions. 

From childhood and youth through maturity, mental health is crucial at every stage of life. Poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things, despite the frequent confusion between the two terms. Even if a person does not have a mental disorder, they may have poor mental health. 

Overall, health is made up of both mental and physical health. For instance, depression can lead to various physical health issues, especially diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, or stroke. This also works the other way around. Studies suggest that the risk of mental illness can also rise if a person suffers from a serious physical disease.

Top 9 important facts about mental health

Here are some important facts related to mental health

  1. There is a serious lack of medical professionals for mental health patients in India: The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that India has a highly understaffed mental health workforce. There is a severe deficit in the number of mental health patients and the number of psychiatrists and psychologists available. According to data, for every 1,00,000 individuals, there are just three psychiatrists or psychologists. Currently, around 56 million Indians struggle with depression, and 38 million have anxiety issues.

  2. Serious mental illness can lead to death about 10 to 20 years sooner than the lifespan of an average person: The World Health Organisation estimates that the life expectancy of patients with severe mental health issues is reduced by 10 to 25 years. In contrast to people without depression, those with schizophrenia have death rates between two and five times higher.

  3. India has been called "One of the most depressed countries" by WHO: The fact that 6.5% of Indians have a significant mental illness demonstrates how widespread mental health disease is becoming. The serious problem is that a mental health disorder doesn't just affect people in a specific age range; it could impact anyone.

  4. The suicide rate in India is among the highest in the world: Suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 39 in India. And suicide is the number one cause of mortality for women between the ages of 15 and 29 worldwide.

  5. The COVID-19 pandemic increased mental health issues by 25% in the first year: According to a research brief published by the World Health Organisation, the prevalence of anxiety and sadness surged dramatically worldwide by 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to some experts, the unexpected stress brought on by the pandemic's social isolation is a significant factor in the increase. The inability of people to work, seek dear ones for help, and participate in local groups was linked to this.

  6. Suicide has been decriminalised in India through the Mental Health Care Act 2017. It is a mental health issue, not a crime: The Mental Health Care Act 2017 was approved on April 7, 2017, and went into effect on May 29, 2018. The act essentially made attempted suicide, which was illegal under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, no longer a crime.

  7. Negative life events, diseases, or addictions have a major effect on a person's mental health: Factors like childhood trauma or a history of abuse are examples of early negative life events. They can cause severe mental health issues later in life. Other factors include alcohol or drug abuse, loneliness or isolation, and biochemical abnormalities or biological variables in the brain.

  8. The majority of mental illness patients are NOT violent: Only a small part of people suffering from a mental illness resort to violence. However, there is a strong notion among the general public, especially when it is dramatised in the media and entertainment, that mental illness patients cannot be treated and should be placed in institutions or asylums. This contributes to avoiding treatment, a higher risk of violence, and less access to decent jobs and housing for mentally ill people.

  9. Out of the total financial health budget, only 0.8% is allocated to mental health in 2022. Two tertiary academic, mental health institutions in India—NIMHANS and Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health—will receive the 94% of the budget allocated to mental health. The remaining 6% will go to the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP). It is responsible for providing mental health services in the country.

KIRAN, a ray of hope

A 24/7 toll-free helpline was inaugurated by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry to serve those struggling with anxiety, stress, despair, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues. Please call 1800-599-0019 to get in touch with the KIRAN helpline if you are not feeling well.

Frequently asked questions

The following are some questions and answers about mental health in India.

What type of mental disorder is most prevalent in India?

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Depression and anxiety disorders are India's most prevalent mental illnesses. It is concerning that the frequency of these disorders is rising and is significantly higher among women.

Why does mental health matter so much in India?

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According to NIMHANS research, more than 80% of Indians do not use healthcare facilities related to mental issues due to a variety of factors, including ignorance, stigma, and high costs. With no evidence of a global decline since 1990, mental disorders are currently among the top three global reasons for health issues.

How many Indians suffer from work-related stress?

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A LinkedIn survey showed that 55% of Indian professionals suffer from work-related stress.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

Sources

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