As per Census 2011, there were 0.7 million persons with mental retardation in India. However other estimates vary significantly, and it is difficult to collect the accurate prevalence rate of mental illness in a country like India. In 2017, a World Health Organization (WHO) report estimated that 20% of Indians are likely to suffer from depression in their lifetime.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 defines Mental Illness as a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognize reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life. It does not include intellectual disability which is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person, specially characterised by subnormality of intelligence.
Also called a mental disorder or psychiatric disorder, mentla illness is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or occur as a single episode.
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.There are currently two widely established systems that classify mental disorders:
- ICD-10 Chapter V: Mental and behavioural disorders, since 1949 part of the International Classification of Diseases produced by the WHO.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) since 1952.
Both of these list categories of disorder and provide standardized criteria for diagnosis.
The causes of mental disorders are often unclear. Theories may incorporate findings from a range of fields. A variety of biological, psychological, and environmental factors cancontribute to the development or progression of mental disorders:
- Inherited traits: Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
- Environmental exposures before birth: Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When the neural networks involving these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression and other emotional disorders.
Research findings in developing countries like India have highlighted financial hardship, physical illness (lack of quality health care), lack of education/skill, lack of basic resources, inability to provide for self and for one’s family, and unfulfilled desires in life to be major factors that contribute to mental illness and suicide among the poor and the underprivileged.
Treatment and support for mental disorders is provided in psychiatric hospitals, clinics or a range of community mental health services. There are a range of different types of treatment and what is most suitable depends on the disorder and the individual. Psychotherapy and psychiatric medication are two major treatment options. Other treatments include lifestyle changes, social interventions, peer support, and self-help. In a minority of cases there might be involuntary detention or treatment. Prevention programs have been shown to reduce depression
Statistics in India
As per Census 2011, there were 0.7 million persons with mental retardation in India. However other estimates vary significantly, and it is difficult to collect the accurate prevalence rate of mental illness in a country like India.In 2017, a World Health Organization (WHO) report estimated that 20% of Indians are likely to suffer from depression in their lifetime.
A 2016 study published by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (Nimhans) also found that around 14% of Indians have mental health disorders, and at least 10% of them require immediate medical intervention. Lack of awareness, combined with stigmatisation and a paucity of accessible professional resources, has meant that only about 10%-12% are able to seek help.
References for More Reading and Understanding/Sources
- Disability Affaairs
- Wikipedia - Mental Disorder
- Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope
- Mayo Clinic - Mental Illness
- Yourstory - Why India needs to focus on mental health and wellbeing
- MOSPI Publication Reports : Disabled persons in India 2016
- Measurement of Disability through Census National Experiences: INDIA
- Mental Health in India: A Problematic Discourse Can Only Lead to Inadequate Laws
- National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16: Summary.