Top Mental Health Issues in Delhi: Report by Mindpiper

Mental Health can be defined as the social, emotional and psychological well being of an
individual. It affects how we think, feel or act. Good Mental health can help us sustain good
physical health, increased self esteem, improved interpersonal relationships, quality sleep, good
memory and more.

Burden of mental disorders have been increasing over the decades in India. According to a
study conducted in Pune, the overall lifetime prevalance of mental disorders is nearly 5 percent.
A study conducted in NIMHANS, Bangalore reported that the burden of mental and
behavioural disorders ranged from 9.5 to 102 per 1000 population.

Most strongly associated factors with mental disorders are deprivation and poverty. Individuals with lower levels of education, low household income, lack of access to basic amenities are at high risk of mental
disorder. Lifetime risk of affective disorders, panic disorders, generalised anxiety disorder,
specific phobia and substance use disorders is found to be highest among illiterate and
unemployed persons. Suicidal behavior was found to have relation with female gender, working
condition, independent decision making, premarital sex, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

A significant proportion of India’s population faces the burden of mental disorders of varying
severity. These include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders,
idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, conduct disorders, and autism. In 2017, 197
million Indians were suffering from mental disorders of whom 46 million had depression and 45
million anxiety disorders.

The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden has doubled between 1990 and 2017 which brings our attention to the importance of mental health. In the fast paced life of Delhi, mental health concerns are rising and there is a huge gap between availability of mental health professionals and the demand of mental health services.

According to a study conducted, most people of Delhi are agitated to contact a mental health
professional because of the stigma attached to mental illness, feeling self conscious in presence
of patients with serious mental health problem, non availability of mental health professionals in
the nearby area,poor state of government hospitals, mostly a lack of trust and confusion about
mode of treatment seem to be factors dissuading people from approaching mental health

According to the State of Mental Health in Delhi, the prevalence of mental illness or psychiatric
morbidity in the population of Delhi was found to be 7.6%. People of Delhi have also reported
high levels of distress along with poor life satisfaction. The approach to Help seeking behaviour
was found to be conventional and limited.

Only 1.6% of the total samples from survey study: “State of mental health in Delhi” were aware about availability of mental health facilities and amongst persons with mental illness only 12.2% people were aware of the facilities. The factors that contributed significantly were lack of knowledge about where to go, and a strong stigma about being perceived negatively by others as a mentally ill person.

In conclusion, the study also indicates that the population of Delhi has high prevalence of mental illness, poor subjective wellbeing and unacceptably low levels of awareness about the mental health services and issues. This has resulted in, negligible numbers of persons with mental illness visiting mental
health professionals.

According to the article on “Awareness of mental disorders among youth in Delhi” mental health
literacy of university students among study sample was found to be satisfactory, but not
adequate in the areas of identification of risk factors, stigmatization and discrimination.
Awareness of mental disorders is also known as Mental health literacy which can be defined as
knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or
prevention.Comparative study of Mental issues among Private and Public sector ciates that
Higher levels of stress and depression were observed in private sector employees than public
sector employees in Delhi NCR.

Some of the factors responsible for Delhi’s unique mental health needs are high expectation
and lack of congruence(no time,busy schduele, traffic problems, reduced sleep time, large travel
distances), lack of communication and bonding (breakdown of joint families,lack of
communication in the family,less bonding with friends and family),lack of mediation,safety
issues, women have multiple roles which leaves no time for oneself leading to burnout, senior
citizens reports dependence on children and forced to live at old age homes as a major
stressor, children find their parents so tired that they feel guilty sharing their problems and need
for materialistic wealth in the metropolitan city like Delhi is also a stressor. All these stressors
lead to problems like Palpitation,feeling low,severe mood swings,lack of concentration,poor
memory, sleep related problems, doubts and fears.

Delhi had no Psychiatric services available before independence unlike other cities like
Calcutta,Bombay and Madras. Delhi had to wait for a long time for its general hospital in 1957.
When Dr S Dattaray was posted in Delhi as a “state psychiatrist” to look after the inmates in a
jail located near Delhi Gate, he had no idea that his arrival in Delhi could pave the path for the
growth of general hospital psychiatry units (GHPUs) in the city. The Gb hospital came into
existence in 1964 where the department of Psychiatry was created.

Now Delhi is taking the lead in the field of mental health as over time has become more
accessible to the general population. More organisations have started in the support of mental
illness. One such leading organisation in the field of mental health is Mind piper. Mind Piper has
a unique approach and is working towards unpacking the stigma around mental health by
critically engaging with the issue of the access to quality mental health care.

Their innovative framework enmeshes the ideas of psychiatry, psychology, technology and at the core of all this ‘community’. The idea is to create a culture of nurture and acceptance within individuals and
communities. It also provides efficient and effective therapeutic interventions through our
wellness centres and online platforms. Apart from this, they actively work in the area of
community mental health and youth wellness.

“Emotional pain is not something that should be hidden away and never spoken about. There is
truth in your pain, there is growth in your pain, but only if it’s first brought out into the open.” —
Steven Aitchison