Targets 3.4 and 3.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals discuss lowering the prevalence of mental illness in society. What do Mental health care and wellness mean? What are the factors affecting mental health? Read the article to know more about Mental health care and wellness.
Greater declines in life satisfaction are linked to depression and anxiety than to debt, divorce, unemployment, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.
People with mental diseases are subjected to human rights violations all around the world, some of which are as serious as being chained or caged.
Does mental health have a definition?
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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a condition of well-being in which every person is able to reach their full potential, manage everyday pressures, engage in productive and fruitful employment, and contribute to their community.
A fundamental human right, mental health is essential for socioeconomic, communal, and personal growth. The WHO emphasises that having a healthy mental state involves “more than just being free of mental impairments or illnesses.”
Peak mental health involves maintaining continual well-being and enjoyment in addition to avoiding active illnesses.
Factors Affecting Mental Health
Our mental health continuum and how it is protected or undermined depends on a number of individual, societal, and systemic factors.
- People may be more susceptible to mental health issues due to personal psychological and biological characteristics like emotional intelligence, substance use, and heredity.
- People are more likely to develop mental health issues when they are exposed to unfavourable social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental conditions, such as poverty, violence, inequality, and environmental squalor.
- Risks can appear at any stage of life, but those that happen during developmentally vulnerable times, notably early childhood, are the most harmful.
- For instance, physical punishment and strict parenting are known to harm children’s health, and bullying is a major risk factor for mental health issues.
- Similar protective factors persist throughout our lives and help us be more resilient. They comprise, among other things, our unique social and emotional capacities and characteristics as well as satisfying interpersonal relationships, high-quality education, respectable employment, secure neighbourhoods, and cohesive communities.
Measures to Support Mental Healthcare Services
In light of the barriers and solutions identified, several broad avenues are initiated to support mental healthcare.
- Every year on October 10, World Mental Health Day is commemorated with the overarching goals of increasing awareness of mental health concerns worldwide and mobilising support for mental health.
- The 66th World Health Assembly also approved the WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Action Plan for 2013–2020.
- The WHO launched the Mental Health Atlas in 2017 and updates it every three years.
- It is a compilation of information on global mental health policies, legislation, funding, human resources, accessibility and use of services, and mechanisms for data gathering. It acts as a manual for nations developing and organising their mental health services.
- Globally significant, the Sustainable Development Goals include preventing suicide as one of its goals (SDG 3.4).
Government of India initiatives
- Since 1982, the government has been carrying out the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) to address the enormous burden of mental diseases and the lack of skilled experts in the field of mental health.
- Modernization of State Mental Hospitals and Upgrading of Psychiatric Wings of Medical Colleges/General Hospitals were added to the program’s 2003 re-strategy.
- To provide community mental health services at the level of primary healthcare, the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) was also introduced in 1996.
- Every affected individual has access to mental healthcare and treatment from programmes managed or sponsored by the government, thanks to the Mental HealthCare Act of 2017.
- The application of Section 309 IPC has been severely narrowed, and attempts to commit suicide are now only punished under special circumstances.
- The Kiran Helpline was established by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2020 to support anyone struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health issues.
- The Manodarpan Project is a ministry of education initiative designed to offer kids, families, and teachers psychosocial support for their mental health and well-being amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The MANAS (Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System) mobile app was introduced by the Indian government in 2021 with the goal of promoting mental health among all age groups.
- The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council approved MANAS as a national programme (PM-STIAC).
Challenges in Mental Health Promotion
- A high public health burden is a challenge. According to India’s most recent National Mental Health Survey 2015-16, 150 million people need mental health care interventions.
- In India, there are few psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07), and social workers (0.07) working in the field of mental health for every 100,000 people (0.07).
- Public access to inexpensive mental healthcare has been hampered by the low financial resource allocation of slightly over a per cent of GDP to healthcare.
- The poor are also stressed because the majority of mental healthcare is in urban areas and is not available in primary healthcare facilities in rural areas, which increases out-of-pocket expenses. Loss to Economy: Due to delayed or non-treatment of mentally ill persons, there is a loss in terms of human capital and an overall loss to the economy in the form of lost man-days.
- According to the WHO, young adults are more at risk for mental problems. To fully profit from India’s demographic dividend, the government must pay special attention to the mental health of young people given that the majority of the country’s population—more than 50%—is under 25.
- Proper rehabilitation of mentally ill people is required after their treatment, however, this is currently lacking.
- Societal isolation is caused by a lack of knowledge about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, social stigma, and the abandonment of the mentally ill, particularly the elderly and the poor.
- The patient’s current mental condition has become significantly worse as a result of family members’ reluctance to seek treatment for the patient.
- Mental health issues tend to worsen during economic downturns, necessitating extra care.
- It is alarming and a flagrant violation of human rights when mentally ill individuals are exposed to and frequently suffer from physical, sexual, and unjust detention, even in their own homes and mental healthcare facilities.
- By allocating greater resources to the budget, more mental healthcare institutions and associated infrastructure will be built. Adequate professional availability in mental health care.
- For sufferers to get therapy as soon as possible to eliminate stigma and prejudice in society to dissuade people from receiving dubious care from faith healers. For instance, “The Live Love Laugh Foundation” wants to transform how we view mental health, decrease stigma, and increase awareness.
- For more than 51,000 individuals, there is only one primary healthcare facility in India. More funding is required to provide patients with quicker, cheaper, and easier access to healthcare services, as well as training at the grassroots level for ASHA, ANM, and AWW centre staff on how to identify mild to severe mental health issues like schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and alcohol abuse.
- By establishing self-help groups of carers’ families and NGOs, individuals can engage the community and lessen the stigma associated with mental illness.
- In public healthcare facilities, the provision of services should be sensitive, compassionate, and free from stigma and discrimination. There is a need for police training and sensibilization regarding the identification of acute mental disorders and the taking of necessary action to safeguard the human rights of those who are mentally ill, their families, and their fellow citizens.
- India needs ongoing funding to spread knowledge about mental health and persistent problems related to it.
- People with mental health issues will continue to find it difficult to get the support they need if people continue to see mental illness with dread and resistance. This is because they are afraid of being judged or labelled.
The experts emphasised that there was no reliable database in India and that the delay in care for those with mental illness or intellectual disability and their families increased the burden of disease, disability, and associated treatment costs to the family and to the community as a whole.
All segments of the population’s mental health difficulties can be addressed by the NMHP, National Health Mission, National Adolescent Health Programme, and Ayushman Bharat. But since COVID-19 has made mental diseases worse everywhere, more needs to be done. The epidemic may be the ideal opportunity to investigate different policy possibilities, such as raising awareness of mental health online.
Article Written By : Atheena Fathima Riyas