Category: Health

SHUT AWAY: “Due to the stigma associated with mental disorders, nearly 80 per cent of those with mental disorders had not received any treatment despite being ill for over 12 months.” File photo: Ch. Vijaya BhaskarAt least 13.7 per Presso Graphy  cent of India’s general population has various mental disorders; 10.6 per cent of them require immediate interventions.

While nearly 10 per cent of the population has common mental disorders, 1.9 per cent of the population suffers from severe mental disorders.

These are some of the findings of a National Mental Health Survey held recently and conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

That is not all. The prevalence of mental morbidity is found to be very high in urban centers, where there is a higher prevalence of schizophrenia, mood disorders, and neurotic or stress-related disorders. This disturbing scenario could be due to fast-paced lifestyles, experiencing stress, complexities of living, a breakdown of support systems and challenges of economic instability.

In 2014, concerned over the growing problem of mental health in India, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had appointed NIMHANS to study mental health status in the country.

After a pilot feasibility study in Kolar district, Karnataka using a sample size of 3,190 individuals, the team which comprised senior professors from NIMHANS, G. Gururaj, Mathew Varghese, Vivek Benegal and Girish N., began the survey in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Manipur Extra Update.

The study — which covered all important aspects of mental illness including substance abuse, alcohol use disorder, tobacco use disorder, severe mental illness, depression, anxiety, phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder among others — had a sample size of 34,802 individuals. Primary data collection was done through computer-generated random selection by a team of researchers, and local teams of co-investigators and field workers in the 12 States.

While the overall current prevalence estimate of mental disorders was 10.6 per cent in the total surveyed population, significant variations in overall morbidity ranged from 5.8 per cent in Assam to 14.1 per cent in Manipur. Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat reported prevalence rates less than 10 per cent. In eight of the 12 States, the prevalence varied between 10.7 per cent and 14.1 per cent.

Treatment gaps and impact
A major concern in the findings, which were recently submitted to the Union Health Ministry, is that despite three out of four persons experiencing severe mental disorders, there are huge gaps in treatment.

Apart from epilepsy, the treatment gap for all mental health disorders is more than 60 per cent. In fact, the economic burden of mental disorders is so huge that affected families have to spend nearly Rs.1,000-Rs.1,500 a month mainly for treatment and to access care.

Due to the stigma associated with mental disorders, nearly 80 per cent of those with mental disorders had not received any treatment despite being ill for over 12 months, the study says. Poor implementation of schemes under the National Mental Health Programme is largely responsible for this.

Dr. Gururaj says that there is also a paucity of mental health specialists, pointing out that mental disorders are a low priority in the public health agenda. The health information system itself does not prioritize mental health.

Recommending that mental health financing needs to be streamlined, he says that there is a need to constitute a national commission on mental health comprising professionals from mental health, public health, social sciences and the judiciary to oversee, facilitate support and monitor and review mental health policies.

Prevalence of mental disorders in different States
Manipur: 14.1 per cent

Madhya Pradesh: 13.9 per cent

Punjab: 13.4 per cent

West Bengal: 13 per cent

Tamil Nadu: 11.8 per cent

Chhattisgarh: 11.7 per cent

Kerala: 11.4 per cent

Jharkhand: 11.1 per cent

Rajasthan : 10.7 per cent

Gujarat: 7.4 per cent

Uttar Pradesh: 6.1

Assam: 5.8 per cent

Key findings
Common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance use are as high as 10 per cent of the total population

Almost 1 in 20 suffer from depression; it is found to be higher in females in the age-group 40-49 years

22.4 per cent of the population above 18 years suffers from substance use disorder

The highest was contributed by tobacco and alcohol use disorder

Nearly 1.9 per cent of the population is affected by severe mental disorders

These are detected more among males in urban areas

While prevalence of mental illness is higher among males (13.9 per cent) as compared to females (7.5 per cent), certain specific mental illnesses like mood disorders (depression, neurotic disorders, phobic anxiety disorders etc) are more in females

Neurosis and stress related illness are also seen to be more in women

Prevalence in teenagers aged between 13 and 17 years is 7.3 per cent

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Many people take their life for granted when it comes to their health. They stay out late, party hearty, don’t exercise and often eat unhealthy foods. In the short term, it will not leave any long-lasting health concerns. However, if they become something of the norm, they can take a toll on the body and cause serious health issues in the future. Thankfully, you can make positive changes in your life and avoid paying the price with poor health later on.

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Good Night’s Rest

People often underestimate the importance of getting a good’s night rest.  You go to work early and stay up late at night. However, your body works behind the scenes when you sleep repairing itself. When you lack the proper amount, you can’t function to your full capacity. You often walk around in a fog, lose focus, and can become forgetful. This can affect every aspect of your life including your job, your relationships, and your well-being. For example, an ordinary weekend ride on your motorcycle can turn disastrous if you don’t see that another driver runs a red light. Now, you become the victim and have serious injuries because you weren’t at 100 percent. The good news is that the accident wasn’t your fault and there are law practices like Pines Salomon who specialize in personal injury cases. To find out more, click here.

Physical Fitness

When you exercise, you build strong muscles and the fat slowly fades away leaving behind a lean physique. Physical fitness also helps to reduce stress, improves your cardio health and thwarts off illness such as type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Getting in regular amounts of exercise at least 3 to 4 times each week will give you mental clarity and make you feel energized and happier. If you prefer not to join a gym, there are other ways to remain fit. A brisk walk or a morning jog can provide the same results, as well as swimming or going for a bike ride.

Nutritional Diet

Your body needs essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats to sustain overall health. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t eat right. And, as a result, obesity is on the rise. Living in an age where everything is instantaneous may prove convenient, but convenience is not always in your best interest. This applies to eating fast or processed foods due to time constraints. The answer is simple; make the best use of your time. If you run all week and have little time to cook, prepare healthy meals ahead of time, over the weekend. Your daily diet should include nutritional foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats or fish, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats such as Omega-3s.

Hydration

More than half of your body consists of water. So it only makes sense that, in order to keep it functioning properly, you need to drink plenty of water. While doctors often give different amounts as the requirement on an individual basis, eight 8 oz. bottles of water is the average each day. Water is a cleanser, an energizer, a pain killer, and provides instant hydration. If you feel a little off, try drinking a glass of the pure stuff, water.

Do Without

There aren’t many people who live life without picking up a bad habit. However, when comparing twirling your hair versus smoking a pack of cigarettes, there’s no comparison when it comes to your health. Twirling your hair will cause it to break and have split ends, nothing a haircut can’t fix. Unfortunately, smoking a pack of cigarettes each day can lead to serious health issues later on in life. If you smoke and want to quit, see your doctor about the options available. And, if you fail initially, keep trying; it’s well worth the efforts for the future of your health.

The good news is that you can change your ways and improve your health.

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