Towards a stronger mental health strategy


    In News

    In December 2022, the 5th Global Mental Health Summit was held to discuss mental health in the context of human rights, ethics and justice. 

    About Mental health

    • It is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. 
    • Mental health conditions include mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities as well as other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm. 
    • It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. 
    • It is a basic human right. And it is crucial to personal, community, and socio-economic development.

    Causes of Mental Illness 

    • Individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills, substance use and genetics can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
    • Exposure to unfavourable social, economic, geopolitical and environmental circumstances – including poverty, violence, inequality and environmental deprivation – also increases people’s risk of experiencing mental health conditions.
    • Over the past two years, the pandemic-led lockdowns and the uncertainties associated with them have had a detrimental effect on mental well-being
    • Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
    • Use of alcohol or drugs
    • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation.

    Issues and Concerns 

    • Mental health problems have been growing rapidly over the last few decades.
    • In 2015, the GOI carried out a National Mental Health Survey — 2015-16 to assess the prevalence of mental health in the country. 
      • The report showed mental disorders at 10.6 per cent among above 18-year-olds, 16 per cent among the productive age group of 30-49-year-olds — and lifetime morbidity affecting 150 million people with one per cent reporting high suicidal risk. 
    • the human resources and treatment facilities are woefully low.
    • For policymakers, mental health is a low priority. Such poor policy attention is often ascribed to indifference among bureaucrats and politicians. 
    • Designing a policy is the most challenging piece of policy-making. 

    Initiatives of Government 

    • The Government has developed comprehensive Training Modules for Healthcare Providers to deal with Post COVID Mental Health Issues to equip Doctors, Nurses, paramedical healthcare workers, community health workers and other frontline workers with knowledge and skills to provide psychosocial support to those affected by post COVID mental health issues.
    • the Government has announced a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” in the Budget of 2022-23, to further improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services in the country.
    • As mandated by the Mental Healthcare Act, of 2017, mental healthcare services have been integrated into general healthcare services like National Health Mission, PMSSY, Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram, AYUSHMAN Bharat, PMJAY, etc

    Conclusion and Way Forward 

    • Policymakers need to provide the resources and fund civil society organisations to implement community-anchored and more affordable interventions.
    • Create youth-driven activities and promote volunteers and personal mentors who can be trained as frontline support to address issues around mental health within the campus.
    • Establish a tailored curriculum that supports and interests students and a teaching methodology which motivates them.
    • Develop resilient educators who can handle students with varying needs and take a keen interest in connecting with their world.
    • Ensure that trained professionals are on hand to provide in-house medical assistance, counselling and telehealth offerings on confidential matters.
    • There needs to be a road map for mental health awareness. This should include the traditional media, government programmes, the education system, industry, and social media.

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] Mental health issues are a major health challenge in the world today. Discuss