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Toward a more effective mental strategy

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In December 2022, the 5th Global Mental Health Summit was held to discuss mental health in the context of human rights, ethics and justice. 

About Mental health

  • It is a state of mental health that enables individuals to deal with life’s challenges, realise their potential, learn and work effectively, and contribute to their community.
  • Conditions of mental health include mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities, as well as other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm.
  • It is an integral component of health and well-being that supports our individual and collective decision-making, relationship-building, and world-shaping abilities.
  • It is a fundamental human right. And it is essential for individual, communal, and socioeconomic growth

Causes of Mental Illness 

  • Individual psychological and biological factors, such as emotional skills, substance abuse, and genetics, can increase susceptibility to mental health issues.

• Unfavorable social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental conditions, such as poverty, violence, inequality, and environmental deprivation, also increase the likelihood of developing mental health conditions.

• Over the past two years, pandemic-driven lockdowns and the associated uncertainty have had a negative impact on mental health.

• Early adverse life experiences, such as a history of trauma or abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)

• Alcohol or drug abuse

• Experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Issues and Concerns 

• Mental health issues have increased dramatically over the past few decades.

• In 2015, the Government of India conducted the National Mental Health Survey — 2015-16 to determine the prevalence of mental health in the nation.

o According to the report, mental disorders affect 10.6% of those aged 18 and older, and 16% of those aged 30-49; lifetime morbidity affects 150 million people, with 1% reporting high suicidal risk; human resources and treatment facilities are woefully inadequate.

Policymakers give mental health low priority. Bureaucrats and politicians are frequently blamed for this lack of policy consideration.

• Policy design is the most difficult aspect of policymaking.

Initiatives of Government 

• The government has developed comprehensive Training Modules for Healthcare Providers to address Post-COVID Mental Health Issues in order to equip physicians, nurses, paramedical healthcare workers, community health workers, and other frontline workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide psychosocial support to those affected by post-COVID mental health issues.

• In the Budget for 2022-23, the government announced a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” to further improve access to high-quality mental health counselling and care services throughout the country.

• As mandated by the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, mental healthcare services have been incorporated into general healthcare services such as National Health Mission, PMSSY, Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram, AYUSHMAN Bharat, PMJAY, and others.

Conclusion and Way Forward 

• Policymakers must provide the resources and funding necessary for civil society organisations to implement more affordable and community-based interventions.

• Create youth-driven activities and promote volunteers and personal mentors who can be trained to provide frontline mental health support on campus.

• Establish an individualised curriculum that supports and engages students, as well as a teaching strategy that motivates them.

• Develop educators with the resiliency to handle students with diverse needs and a keen interest in connecting with their world.

• Ensure that trained professionals are available to provide confidential in-house medical assistance, counselling, and telehealth services.

• A road map for mental health awareness is required. This should include traditional media, government programmes, education, the business sector, and social media.

Mains Practise Question 

[Q] Mental health problems are a major health concern in the modern world. Discuss

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