According to the National Mental Health Survey report on Punjab (2016-17) one out of eight Punjabis is suffering from mental illness and 80% Punjabis are not getting any access to treatment. This is a matter of great concern for the youth in Punjab.
It is important to understand mental or neurological disorders and get proper treatment rather than suffer silently with stigma. Psychosocial problems can be treated like any other ailment, so accept reality and get proper treatment, before it becomes a serious matter of concern. Mental health of a person is as important as physical health.
According to the latest report of World Health Organisation, “An estimated 500 million people suffer from mental or neurological disorders or from psychosocial problems such as depression.” Some of them suffer neurological disorders due to excessive drinking and drug abuse. Many of them suffer silently, some suffer alone and most of them never receive any medical treatment.
About 14% of the global burden of disease has been attributed to neuropsychiatric disorders, mostly due to the chronically disabling nature of depression and other common mental disorders, alcohol-use and substance-use disorders, and psychoses.
National Mental Health Survey report on Punjab (2016-17) also indicated that every 6th Punjabi has suffered from mental illness and every 8th is still suffering.
The survey found that in Punjab, the total lifetime prevalence of mental illnesses was 18% (national level: 13.6%) and the current prevalence was 13% (national level:10.5%).
It means, there are nearly 21.9 lakh people suffering from mental illness in Punjab. Only 20% of them (4.38 lakh) have access to treatment and rest 80% are not getting any treatment.
The survey mentions that treatment gap was 80% for common mental disorders, 57% for severe mental disorders, 81% for alcohol and drug abuse disorders and 82% for depressive disorders.
Since most of mental or psychosocial problems are not life-threatening people do not take them seriously. Some people do not want to talk about their psychosocial problems or depression and keep on suffering silently taking into account social stigma- of mentally unstable person.
However, because they stress the separate contributions of mental and physical disorders to disability and mortality, they might have entrenched the alienation of mental health from mainstream efforts to improve health and reduce poverty. The burden of mental disorders is likely to have been underestimated because of inadequate appreciation of the connectedness between mental illness and other health conditions. Because these interactions are protean, there can be no health without mental health. Mental disorders increase risk for communicable and non-communicable diseases and contribute to unintentional and intentional injury. Conversely, many health conditions increase the risk for mental disorder, and comorbidity complicates help-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment, and influences prognosis. Health services are not provided equitably to people with mental disorders, and the quality of care for both mental and physical health conditions for these people could be improved.
Ignorance by the people and their relatives about mental health has drawn attention to the importance of medical intervention to resolve the problems due to mental disorders. We need to develop and evaluate psychosocial interventions that can be integrated into management of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Health-care systems should be strengthened to improve delivery of mental health care, by focusing on existing programmes and activities.
An explicit mental health budget needs to be allocated in government health care system. Mental health affects progress towards the achievement of several Millennium Development Goals, such as promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health. Mental health awareness needs to be integrated into all aspects of health and social policy, health-system planning, and delivery of primary and secondary general health care.
22 May 2019
23 May 2019