“As a community and as a country, we must collectively create and spread awareness on the multifarious causes and factors resulting in mental health disorders and the available treatment. This shall enhance the avenues for those suffering from mental illness and disorders to lead a normal life with dignity and to be productive.” This was stated by Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. He was speaking at a function to mark the ‘World Mental Health Day’, here today. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and senior officers of the Ministry were also present at the event.
Kulaste further added that for persons with mental health problems, the social isolation, the discrimination and the continuous struggle to adjust push them away from the reach of our healthcare system. We have a huge task ahead of us, we have to work together to make our healthcare system more sensitive and receptive to the needs of persons with mental health problem, he stated.
Underscoring the importance of rehabilitation of those afflicted with mental illnesses, Kulaste further added that our voices should be loud and actions should be committed enough to reach the farthest and remotest corners of households, villages, towns and the entire nation. “Timely and supported rehabilitation is vital to make sure persons with mental health problems, after treatment, continue to live a productive and fruitful life and that they are not left at the fringes of society to suffer insidiously,” Kulaste elaborated.
Speaking at the function, Anupriya Patel stated that being healthy is no longer associated with only physical health. Being completely healthy means having emotional balance in our life, being able to think creatively, being able to feel and express emotions and being psychologically well, she added.
She further added that addressing mental illnesses by way of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation is necessary for achieving our health objectives. This will simultaneously have a salutary impact on increasing productivity. Persons with mental illness constitute a vulnerable section of society and are subject to discrimination. “The families of persons with mental illness bear financial hardship, emotional and social burden of providing treatment and care. The environment around them should be made conducive to facilitate recovery, rehabilitation and full participation in society,” Smt. Anupriya Patel said. She stated that as per WHO estimates, one in four persons will be affected by a mental illness at least once in their lifetime. The available country data from 2005 shows that 6% to7% population in India suffers from some form of mental illness. Mental illnesses are emerging as a major cause of morbidity in our country. These illnesses include depression, bipolar mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, delusional disorders, substance use disorders among others, she stated.
Anupriya Patel emphasized the need for specific interventions on building life skills, mitigating substance misuse and for mental health promotion and prevention for adolescents. She further said that the role of parents and families in ensuring smooth transition of adolescents into adulthood, with all the necessary skills for leading a content life could not be overemphasized.
Stressing on the need for more trained and skilled human manpower in this area, Patel mentioned that the Government of India is making investment under the National Mental Health Programme to bridge in this huge gap. “We will have to train more medical officers, nurses, counsellors and pharmacists in District Hospitals, Community and Primary Health Centres. At the same time help seeking from patients and demand for mental health services should increase- community based interventions through utilization of field level functionaries such as ASHA and ANM must be designed and implemented,” she elaborated.