President of India inaugurates 21st World Congress of mental health

In news:

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 21st World Congress of Mental Health being organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions in New Delhi today (November 2, 2017).

Highlights:

The World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time.

Mental health issues in India:

  • Mental health issues are acquiring a serious magnitude in our country.
  • Our National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.
  • The biggest obstacle that mental health patients have to encounter is stigma and denial. This leads to the issue being ignored or simply not discussed.
  • There is a need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured – not as guilty secrets that must be pushed under the carpet.
  • A major gap in combating the mental health challenge is that of human resources. India is a country with 1.25 billion people but just 700,000 doctors – less than one million.
  • In the field of mental health, the scarcity is even more acute. There are only about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists in our country.
  • India’s National Mental Health Programme is building 22 centres of excellence in the field of mental health. In parallel, the District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India. It is taking the conversation about mental health to the grassroots of our society.
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