1 Out Of 7 Indians Suffer From Mental Health Disorders: LANCET

A comprehensive research by the India-State Level Disease Burden Initiative published in the LANCET Psychiatry reveals a shocking truth about the mental health wellness of Indians, turning the spotlight on mental disorders and wellness for the upcoming new year and decade.

One out of every seven Indians is diagnosed with mental health issues, as of 2017, the study says, assessing the mental health of Indians.

Dr. Rajesh Sagar, lead author of the study and from the Psychiatry Department in AIIMS Delhi calls this as the first time “such a comprehensive report has been put out to know the exact disease burden of mental health in the country that will help make changes at the policy-level”.

Here is what the study reveals to us about the mental health wellbeing of our citizens:

  • The health issues discussed include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, conduct disorders, and autism.
  • In 2017, 197 million Indians were suffering from mental disorders of whom 46 million had depression and 45 million had other anxiety disorders.
  • It was also observed that from 1990- 2017, the share of mental health disorders in the country had doubled.
  • The southern part of the country is said to have a higher prevalence of mental health issues.
  • Depression and anxiety disorders are the commonest mental problems in India with 4.5 crore to 4.6 crore people suffering from each.
  • The prevalence of depression and anxiety was observed more in females than males and was observed to be highest in older adults/ senior citizens.

The stats are here. But is the awareness enough among the public? Are we doing enough justice to ensure the well-being of our mental health too?

mental health

Physical illness has always been attended to with care, whereas acceptance of mental health issues is the biggest taboo in today’s society, especially in India. “This group of disorders, as frequent as hypertension or arthritis, just as or even less chronic than diabetes and as amenable to treatment as any other physical ailment has always been considered as the “other man’s problem” says Dr.R.Thara, Director, Schizophrenia Research Foundation SCARF.

Read all about the stigma associated with mental illness and why it needs to change.