Friday, February 3, 2012

Mental Healthcare- EPW article

    • World Health Organisation (WHO) adopted a resolution on “Global burden of mental disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response at the country level” in Geneva recently
    • It was moved by India
    • India had also successfully argued for mental disorders being included in the non-communicable disease
    • India’s mental healthcare scene is dismal, almost bordering on the negligent.
    • 7% of the population suffers from mental disorders with 90% remaining untreated
    • one psychiatrist per four lakh people
    • India’s allocation for mental healthcare is less than 1% of the health budget
    • huge percentage of the mentally ill are cared for by their families without even getting a proper diagnosis.
    • social stigma associated with being mentally sick means that families can hardly hope for a support network outside the home
    • lack of awareness associated with these illnesses also results in many of the patients being taken to religious charlatans who promise to “exorcise” the evil spirit or neutralise the “evil eye” cast on the family
    • Women sufferers bear a heavier burden.
    • little appreciation of the need for counselling in times of natural disasters and the attention to be paid to post-traumatic stress disorder
    • mentally ill are also more prone to suffer violation of their human rights, remain unemployed and poor, and more susceptible to the other non-communicable diseases.
    • National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) was launched in 1982 while the Mental Health Act, 1987 came into effect in the early 1990s
    • emphasises community-based system of care
    • Psychiatrists and judicial activists have called for an overhauling of the Mental Health Act to make it more patient-friendly and in tune with advances in the field of mental healthcare
    • draft Mental Healthcare Act 2010
    • DMHP should be incorporated in the National Rural Health Mission, inclusion of mental healthcare in primary healthcare, giving greater attention to rehabilitation in severe illnesses like schizophrenia (there are more than 30 lakh patients in India), increasing the budget for mental healthcare and greater attention to issues facing women patients, especially that of “guardianship”.
    • HO estimates that the global effect of mental disorders in terms of loss of economic output will reach $16,000 billion over the next two decades
    • While even in the high-income countries nearly 35% to 50% of those with mental disorders do not get treatment, the figure is 76% to 85% for the low and middle-income countries

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