mental health awareness in india

Why Mental Health Awareness in India Needs Urgent Action

For centuries, mental health concerns in India were curtained in the shrouds of mental health stigma. However, it has finally begun to come out and receive the acknowledgement it should have a long time ago. Mental health is not a luxury; it is a right.

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Nevertheless, the journey towards full mental health awareness in India has a long way to go.

This article explores the urgent need for action towards the critical issue of mental health awareness in India, calling for a collective effort to break barriers, acknowledge mental wellbeing, and take action to provide every citizen with the support they need to live healthy lives free from the burden of disease.

The True Picture of Mental Health Awareness in India

As per a study conducted by the WHO in 2015, one in five Indians are expected to encounter the struggles of major depressive disorder in their lifetime, which is equivalent to approximately 200 million people.

Mental health awareness in India is quite complex, with signs of both progress and stigma. While mental health is gradually coming into the discussions of people, there remains a lack of awareness and accessibility of mental health services.

The word 'mental health' can often be seen in newspaper headlines with stories of celebrities battling with their mind. Moreover, many social media pages are filled with posts for the promotion of mental health.

Unfortunately, for many, the freedom to discuss their mental health is still a mere faint echo. Despite the large amount of Indians struggling, many do not receive the treatment they need.

One of the major reasons for this is the stigmatization of mental health illness. Often, individuals with psychological disorders are labelled as 'unstable', lacking proper judgement, and someone to stay away from.

Sometimes, mental illnesses are not considered as an issue that is serious enough to seek help for. A serious request for help can also be mocked about and brushed off.

Moreover, many firmly believe that mental illness is due to supernatural or spiritual factors. They may run away in fear or, if anything, seek help from traditional healers rather than mental health professionals who can provide comprehensive care.

Due to the prevalence of such misconceptions, many people shy away from asking for help for fear of judgement and discrimination, leading to a perpetuating cycle of silent suffering.

Moreover, mental healthcare facilities are concentrated majorly in the metropolitan cities of the country, leaving the rural regions and other hard-to-reach areas with limited access to treatment.

Despite the challenges, there are glimpses of hope. At the grassroots level, organizations work tirelessly to promote mental health awareness in India and offer services to underserved populations.

Nevertheless, the future calls for a multifaceted approach. Developing mental health institutions and rural outreach mental health programs requires increased investment. De-stigmatization and mental health literacy through public education campaigns and influential media portrayals by the film industry are essential.

Additionally, fostering career options in psychiatry and psychology for more mental health specialists is a crucial step to take.

How Technology is Revolutionizing Mental Health Awareness in India

Technology has made massive contributions towards development in India. In today's age, its positive impact is witnessed in how it has helped address and nurture mental health. It has become a powerful tool in bridging gaps and providing people easy access to many services, such as that for mental health illnesses.

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Teletherapy: The most significant contribution of technology to the field of mental health awareness in India is the advent of teletherapy. Teletherapy works by offering mental health services from a certified mental health professional through audio and video connection. The only difference is distance and its virtual nature.

Online Awareness Campaigns: Technology has facilitated the onset of online mental health awareness campaigns. Many companies and individuals have begun using digital platforms and social media to share their personal stories, thereby inspiring people to open up and break the long-established stigma. Mental health professionals have also started using the platform to share valuable information and resources for those struggling.

Online Support Groups: Keeping in mind the power of social support, virtual groups and forums are being used to provide a safe space for people to connect, share experiences, and find support. The anonymity further empowers people to share their stories freely without fear of stigma. These online communities have done a lot for the Indian population with regard to reducing feelings of isolation that often come with mental health issues and bringing mental health awareness in India at the community level.

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10 Influential Voices Leading Mental Health Awareness in India

In the stigma-filled environment we have known for so long, it takes a lot of courage to speak up and represent the voice of the many people who are silently struggling.

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Here are the top 10 influential voices to look up to for inspiration:

Deepika Padukone: Using her fame in Bollywood, Deepika Padukone has spoken widely on mental health and her struggle with depression. In 2015, when stigma was still widely prevalent in the region, she briefly mentioned her battle with certain mental health illnesses. Not much later, she began the Live Love Laugh non-profit foundation, which focuses on boosting mental health awareness in India. She also spoke extensively on the accessibility and affordability of mental health services in rural India.

Adiba M Sait: A certified psychotherapist and neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, Adiba Sait has played a massive role in the progression of mental health awareness in India. She has done this through the foundation of Mind Splatters, which offers affordable mental health treatment, self-care products, learning opportunities, and insightful workshops for the corporate and educational sectors. She firmly believes that reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and increasing mental health care services can play a pivotal role in the emotional wellbeing of all Indians.

Pranav Vashistha: Pranav Vashista is an engineer turned entrepreneur who firmly believes that wellbeing consists of both physical health and mental wellbeing. He states that as our requirements have evolved and desk-bound work has become necessary, we often neglect to pay attention to our mental wellbeing. Taking his ideas forward, he founded FeelJoy, which aims to create a nurturing and safe atmosphere for those struggling with a mental illness to discuss their issues with a professional coach.

Ashi Tomar: A psychologist at Veda Rehabilitation and Wellness, Ashi Tomar believes that self-care is unique for every person. She strongly encourages everyone to make time for themselves and practice self-care, such as mindfulness and meditation. Mrs Tomar further elaborates by explaining how enhancing the mind-body link can further boost physical, mental, and emotional health.

Richa Singh: Co-Founder and CEO of YourDost, Richa has accomplished quite a lot in her life. Over time, she thought of beginning her own business with a focus on social improvement. She discovered the notion of building a network of support for those dealing with mental health issues, particularly stress. She co-founded YourDost, subsequently becoming a leader in the field. Users can get mental health treatment from professionals while maintaining their anonymity.

Garima Juneja: After a broad experience in psychotherapy, Garima was inspired to establish her mental health firm, Lightroom Therapy, in 2020 in Chandigarh. She states that the term Lightroom was selected as a way to imply bringing light into her clients' lives in their moments of darkness.

Anna Chandy: Being born in a chaotic home and going through early sexual abuse, Anna definitely knows what it's like to have gone through a mental health struggle. She has found her path to happiness through treatment and by training to be a counsellor. She currently works as a therapist, coach, speaker and trainer with 25 years of experience. Moreover, she also serves as the board chair of the Live Love Laugh Foundation. She has also inspired many through her first book, Battles in the Mind.

Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar: Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar is one of the most influential voices in India. She founded an NGO in Chennai named SNEHA, which is focused on suicide prevention. Besides being the head of the psychiatry sector at the Adyar Voluntary Health Services in Chennai, she is also a member of the WHO's International Network for Suicide Research. Additionally, she holds an honorary associate professorship at the Australian University of Melbourne.

Birla: Founder of Mpower, Mrs Birla, has extensively discussed the need for a shift in mindsets when it comes to mental health. Mpower is dedicated to transforming people's perceptions of mental health into a more accepting and informed one. It envisions the future as a world where every individual has the freedom to seek treatment for their struggles without the restriction of stigma.

Rohini Nilekani: Through Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies (RNP), Mrs. Nilekani announced a grant of Rs. 100 Crore to the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) and the National Institute for Biological Sciences (NCBS) to set up a centre for long-term research practice on mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, and addiction. She has contributed significantly towards research on mental health disorders in India and its progress in understanding mental diseases better.

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Mental health awareness in India has seen much progress over the years; however, the country still has a long way to go.

While conversations surrounding mental health are getting more productive, significant challenges remain. The primary issues are the prevalence of social stigmas and limited access to adequate treatment, which are major concerns.

However, there is hope.

Technology comes with many boons to the mental health sector, and influential figures are giving a voice to those who are silenced. However, the path forward can become brighter with a collective effort - increased investment in mental health infrastructure, de-stigmatization campaigns, and training more mental health experts are some tiny steps to adopt.

By working together, we can build a better India where everyone has the access and support needed to lead healthier lives.


What is the National Mental Health Programme in India?

Considering the heavy burden of mental health conditions in the community, the Government of India launched the National Mental Health Program in 1982.

Which state has India's biggest mental hospital?

Karnataka has the largest institution for mental illnesses, called the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

What is the most common mental health issue in India?

Major depressive disorder is the most common mental health issue in India.

Huda Fatima

A passionate bookworm, Huda has always dreamt of sculpting a reader's imagination. Driven by an everlasting passion for language, she strives to craft captivating narratives, twisting, and combining the words she holds much love for, taking her readers on cultural journeys around the globe.


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