Over 55 million Indians suffer from mental disorders

mentaldisorderOver 55 million Indians suffer from mental disorders, even as the country lags behind the world in medical professionals and spending on mental health issues,

Quoting data from the National Commission on Macroeconomics, Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda informed the Lok Saba in 2005 that nearly 20 million Indians suffer mental disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and nearly 50 million suffered from other mental disorders like depression and anxiety at the end of 2005.

While the central government does not maintain any data on mental patients since heath is a state subject, it does have data on patients in 3 central institutions in Bengaluru, Ranchi and Tezpur.

The government has commissioned a national mental health survey through the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, in Bengaluru, to estimate the number of mental patients and pattern of mental health services.

The study interviewed 27,000 respondents by April 2016 and according to a reply in the Lok Sabha the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is direly short of health professionals, especially at the district and sub-district levels. By this estimate India is short of 66,200 psychiatrists.

The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, that provides protection and promotion rights of mentally ill people, during the delivery of health care in the institutions and communities, was unanimously passed by a vote in the Rajya Sabha in August 2016. The Bill has increased funding to centres of excellence in mental health to Rs.33.70 crore per centre.

Some 15 centres of excellence in mental health and post-graduate training department in mental health specialties have been funded to address the shortage of mental health professionals nationwide.