Government unaware of mentally ill population in country

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New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The government does not have any idea about the number of people suffering from mental disorders in the country, as per a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday by Health and Family Welfare Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

“The data of people affected by mental health issues is not maintained centrally,” said the minister in the reply, who went on to share two varying estimates for the percentage of population having mental health issues.

“As per the World Health Organisation’s Report ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders – Global Health Estimates’ released in 2017, the estimated prevalence of depressive disorders in India is 4.5 per cent of the total population,” it said.

However, as per the National Mental Health Survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru in 12 states of the country, the prevalence of depressive disorders in India is estimated to be 2.7 per cent of the total population, it added.

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Further, the minister said, “Counselling sessions have not been made mandatory in educational institutions and offices.”

Yet, the government is implementing a District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) for detection, management and treatment of mental disorders or illness in 517 districts of the country under the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP), being implemented since 1982.

Choubey said the major components of DMHP are counselling in schools and colleges, work place stress management, life skills training, suicide prevention services and Information Education Communication (IEC) activities for generation of awareness and removal of stigma associated with mental illness.

–IANS

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