17. October 2021

Exclusive: World Mental Health Day 2021 – Depression and suicide is higher amongst women


New Delhi: World Mental Health Day is celebrated annually internationally on October 10 to lift consciousness about psychological well being points, lack of correct infrastructure to assist psychological well being sufferers and social stigma confronted by folks affected by psychological sicknesses. This yr’s theme is ‘Mental well being in an unequal world’ and  we bought in contact with Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson of Mental Health NGO Mpower to share her views on the identical.

“Mental disorder does not discriminate between people – anyone can get stricken by it. So, why should there be discrimination in the care that people receive? Sadly, we live in an unequal world where resources, opportunities and solutions are disproportionately distributed,” mentioned Neerja.

Below are some key elements of Mental Health circumstances shared by Neerja Birla.


According to The Lancet, almost 15 % of the worldwide psychological, neurological and substance abuse issues happen in India. In 2017, 19.73 crore folks (14.3 % of the inhabitants) had psychological sicknesses. Sadly, India additionally has the best variety of suicides on this planet – 319 deaths each day in 2019. 

In stark distinction, the variety of psychological well being professionals in India solely provides as much as 9,000 (0.75 per lakh inhabitants) and we solely have 56,600 psychiatric beds for 135 crore folks.

According to the National Mental Health Survey (NMHS), 80 % of individuals with psychological well being issues don’t obtain therapy for over a yr. The therapy hole for various psychological well being issues ranges from 28 % to 83 %. To cut back the therapy hole considerably and shortly, we’d like extra hospitals, beds and educated personnel. We should additionally empower the psychological healthcare system with high quality indicators.


700 psychiatrists are graduating yearly. But we’d like 2,700 yearly to bridge the present hole inside 10 years. As of now, there is insufficient syllabus of psychological well being or psychiatry stems in medical schools. Mental well being research should be given much more significance. Online programs can enhance the attain considerably and assist cut back the hole sooner.

The share of psychological well being issues is even higher in rural India the place therapy is scarcely out there. A partnership between psychiatrists, psychiatric social employees, anthropologists, NGOs, and native volunteers might play an necessary function in making psychological well being accessible to a bigger inhabitants.


The prevalence of melancholy and nervousness issues, in addition to consuming issues, is considerably higher in women. The affiliation between melancholy and dying by suicide is additionally higher amongst women. 38 % of working women in India present indicators of psychiatric morbidity in comparison with solely 26 % of the women who don’t work. In this unequal world, women are clearly much more deprived. Steps should be taken to take a look at women’s psychological well being from their viewpoint and discover options particular to their wants.

As per the NMHS, psychological sicknesses disproportionately have an effect on households with decrease revenue and employment and much less training ranges. The median out-of-pocket expenditure by households on therapy and journey to entry care is roughly 1,000-1,500 per thirty days. Mental healthcare must develop into much more inexpensive in India. Medical insurance coverage must cowl psychological well being interventions, together with out-affected person ones, as per the Mental Health Act 2017 (MHA) directive.


Developed international locations spend 5-18 % of the annual healthcare funds on psychological healthcare whereas India solely spends 0.05 %. After the MHA was handed in 2017, the National Mental Healthcare Program funds was elevated from Rupees 3.5 million to five million, however subsequently diminished to 4 million. This is even though a survey confirmed a 367 % leap in psychological well being queries even earlier than the pandemic had began. The funding for psychological well being wants to extend drastically and instantly, in order that the desperately wanted infrastructure could be developed. 

Two of the largest challenges that we have to overcome are lack of expertise and the stigma hooked up to psychological well being. Even educated folks discover it tough to just accept their psychological sicknesses. Moreover, folks with psychological well being points are seemed down on and made to really feel ashamed. This misinformation about psychological well being must go. People must unite and increase their voice actively towards the stigma. A psychological well being concern is not a personality flaw or private failing. People affected by psychological issues can lead extraordinarily productive lives and be contributing members of society. 


The language barrier is additionally a serious hurdle. All psychological and psychiatric training terminology is in English. In such a state of affairs, the usage of regional languages and colloquial lingo with the underprivileged and uneducated sections of society can create prompt rapport and belief, and hasten the method of making consciousness and fostering training by leaps and bounds.

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SANJHI AWAAZ is Punjabi radio station based in Melbourne (Australia) catering for all age groups of the Punjabi and Hindi speaking communities in the Melbourne VIC (AUS) and across the world online.