Today, mental health is receiving the attention it deserves. It has been neglected for a long time, but as more and more people are becoming aware of the situation, it is gaining recognition.
The WHO constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition implies that mental health encompasses more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
A state of mental health in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can deal with the normal stresses of life, can work efficiently, and can contribute to his or her community.
Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, preservation, and restoration of mental health can be viewed as a global imperative for individuals, communities, and society.
As seen by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals, there has been growing acceptance in recent years of the importance of mental health in accomplishing global development goals.
Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being comprise mental health. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also influences how we deal with stress, interact with people, and make decisions. Mental health is essential throughout all stages of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Taboo, Stigma and Indifference
More than half of individuals with mental health issues do not seek treatment. People frequently avoid or delay therapy because of fear of being treated differently or of losing their jobs and livelihood . This is because of attached stigma and prejudice leading to discrimination.
Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination towards people with mental illness can be subtle or blatant, but regardless of their severity, they can cause greater harm. Mentally ill individuals are disadvantaged and discriminated against in several ways.
Researchers identified a variety of stigma types:
Mental illness is stigmatised by the unfavourable or discriminating opinions of the public.
Self-stigma refers to the negative attitudes, such as internalised shame, that individuals with mental illness hold about their own disease.
Institutional stigma is more systematic, comprising practises of government and commercial organisations that intentionally or unintentionally limit opportunities for those with mental illness. Examples include a decrease in funding for mental illness research and the provision of fewer mental health services relative to other health care.
National Mental Health Programme
In 1982, the Indian government began the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) with the following goals in mind- To ensure the availability and accessibility of minimum mental health care for all in the foreseeable future, particularly for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of the population; To encourage the application of mental health knowledge in general healthcare and in social development; and To promote community participation in the development of mental health services and to encourage community self-help.
District Mental Health Programme
The District Mental Health Program (DMHP) was launched under NMHP in the year 1996 (in IX Five Year Plan). Based on the 'Bellary Model,' the DMHP included the following components- Early diagnosis and therapy. Under the supervision of a specialist, general practitioners receive brief training in the diagnosis and treatment of common mental diseases with a limited number of drugs. Health personnel are being educated to recognise mentally sick individuals. The goal is to increase Public and monitoring.
In an effort to increase access to mental health services, the government is strengthening primary mental healthcare services. Mental healthcare services have been introduced to the Comprehensive Primary Health Care package under the Ayushman Bharat - HWC Scheme. Ayushman Bharat has developed operational guidelines for Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders (MNS) at Health and Wellness Centers (HWC). Primary mental health services are offered to all segments of society in accordance with these standards.
The Union Health Ministry has launched a 24×7 tele-mental health service called Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. The programme will initially be available in 20 states and territories before being expanded nationwide.
Tele-MANAS strives to provide access to mental health care nationwide, particularly in remote regions. The nationwide network will provide counselling, professional advice, and electronic prescriptions. Anyone can reach the service by dialling 14416 or 1-800-91-4416. Callers will initially contact an interactive voice response system before being forwarded to a certified counsellor in their area. If necessary, patients will be connected online with mental health specialists such as clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists. The caller will be routed to a health and wellness centre, primary health centre, or tertiary care centre if they require in-person assistance.
The nodal centre for Tele MANAS, which will be the digital arm of the National Mental Health Programme, will be National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS)
Given that the majority of previous attempts to improve mental health in less-developed nations have failed over the past six or more decades, it is necessary to adopt a new strategy with fresh zeal. Awareness of mental health can serve as both the means and the means to end this apathy. Progressive government policies based on evidence-based approaches, an active media, a thriving educational system, a responsive industry, proactive use of newer technology, and inventive crowdsourcing might to get help dispel the blight of mental illness.