February 18, 2024
Less than 1 Percent of individuals in India self-report mental illness: Study
Health Mental Health

Less than 1 Percent of individuals in India self-report mental illness: Study

Less than 1 Percent of individuals in India self-report mental illness: Study

Less than 1 Percent of individuals in India self-report mental illness: Study

In a recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, and Ohio State University, it was revealed that the self-reporting rate for mental illness in India is less than one percent. The study, published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems, sheds light on the prevalence of mental health challenges in the country. Dr. Alok Ranjan, Assistant Professor at IIT Jodhpur, and Dr. Jewel Crasta from Ohio State University co-authored the research.

Low Self-Reporting Rates: A Stigma-Induced Challenge

The study, based on the 75th Round National Sample Survey (2017-18), indicated that self-reporting rates for mental health problems were significantly low, emphasizing the persistent stigma associated with mental health in Indian society. Dr. Ranjan highlighted the reluctance of individuals to report mental health issues due to societal judgment and the prevailing stigma. Destigmatization is identified as a crucial aspect of fostering an environment where seeking support for mental health is normalized.

Private Sector’s Role and Economic Disparities

The research outlined the significant role played by the private sector in providing mental health services in India. Approximately 66.1 percent of outpatient care and 59.2 percent of inpatient care were provided by the private sector. The study also uncovered socioeconomic disparities, with the self-reporting of mental disorders being 1.73 times higher among the richest income group compared to the poorest. High out-of-pocket expenditures and limited health insurance coverage were identified as major concerns, indicating a considerable gap in addressing mental health issues.

Challenges and the Path Forward

Despite the 2017 National Mental Health Survey estimating around 197.3 million individuals with mental disorders in India, the study emphasizes the need for destigmatization, increased awareness, and more accessible mental health services. Addressing socioeconomic disparities and improving health insurance coverage are identified as crucial steps to bridge the gap in identifying and treating mental health issues effectively.

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