‘Neuropsychiatry illnesses, mental health issues rarely recognized in India’

Bhubaneswar, Oct 10 (FN Representative) Neuropsychiatry illnesses and mental health issues have a disproportionately large impact on developing countries like India but are rarely recognized or adequately funded, Prof. Rama Chandra Das, senior psychiatrist and Medical Superintendent of Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) said. “As we celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, the day comes with a theme by the World Health Organisation to make mental health and well-being a global priority’, he said’.

Social and economic inequalities, prolonged conflicts among countries, wars, rise in violence and public health emergencies have become the primary cause of large-scale migration in different regions of the world. All these factors threaten our progress towards improved physical and psychological well-being as a civil society.’ Prof. Das said. Many now acknowledge that the mental health care system and staff are inadequate, he said adding a fair public health policy requires addressing the ethical implications of mental health inequalities for people and nations. What we need is to improve mental health care so that a community-based system that meets the full range of mental health needs is readily available, Dr Das said. Covid pandemic has exposed all of us to a lot of vulnerabilities relating to our mental well-being. In the post-pandemic situation, the incidence of anxiety and mood disorders, stress-related disorders, suicidal and self-harm behavior, addictive disorders and sleep-related disorders continue to rise across the globe, Prof Das claimed.

Stigma, prejudice and misconceptions about mental illnesses continue to be barriers in seeking treatment for people suffering from mental illnesses, he said. “We hope to see a society where everyone’s mental health is respected, nurtured, and safeguarded, where everyone has the chance to experience and appreciate mental health and the freedom to access the mental health care they require”. Dr Udit Panda, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, KIMS said people with mental health conditions, caregivers, mental health professionals, policymakers, bureaucracy and all other stakeholders should come forward to raise awareness about positive mental health, mental illnesses, capacity building in mental health care and progressive policy changes for integrating mental health services into primary health care.