Mental Health Issues and Effective Policies

The fifth Global Mental Health Summit, co-sponsored by more than a half-dozen mental health organisations, was held in Chennai to discuss mental health in the context of human rights, ethics, and justice. It emphasised the importance of mental health and issued a call to action against the continued neglect by society and, in particular, governments at the federal and state levels.

Findings of national mental health survey

  • The National Mental Health Survey (NMHS): The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) published the most recent National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) in 2016, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO.
  • Mental disorder prevalence: According to the survey, the prevalence of mental disorders among adults in India is approximately 10.6%. Anxiety disorders (7.3%) and mood disorders (4.5%) were the most common disorders.
  • Higher in women than in men: The survey also discovered that women had a higher prevalence of mental disorders than men, and that the majority of people with mental disorders did not receive any treatment.
  • It was also discovered that the prevalence of mental disorders was higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and that there was a higher prevalence of mental disorders among people with lower levels of education and income.
  • Treatment coverage gap for people with mental disorders: The survey found that there is a significant gap in treatment coverage for people with mental disorders, with the majority of people receiving no treatment.
  • Plan for mental health: The survey provided useful information for the Indian government and mental health professionals in planning and implementing mental health programmes and policies in the country.

What constitutes good policy making on mental health?

  • Policies should be founded on research and findings: Policies should be founded on solid research and evidence derived from scientific studies. This helps to ensure that policies address mental health issues effectively and are not based on assumptions or stereotypes.
  • Policy making should involve a diverse range of stakeholders, including people who have lived with mental health issues, mental health professionals, and representatives from relevant government departments and non-governmental organisations.
  • A holistic and integrated approach: Mental health policies should be holistic and address a wide range of issues, such as prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery. They should also be integrated with other policies such as education, housing, and employment.
  • Ensure easy access to mental health care: Policies should ensure that people have easy access to appropriate and affordable mental health care, including medication as well as psychosocial therapies.
  • Public education and sensitization: policies should ensure that people suffering from mental illnesses are treated with dignity and respect, and that their human rights are protected.

Strategy for improving mental health policy implementation

  • Specific goals and objectives: Having clear and measurable goals and objectives can help to ensure that policies are effectively implemented and that progress is tracked.
  • Training and capacity development: Training and capacity building for mental health professionals, as well as other relevant stakeholders such as community leaders, can aid in the effective implementation of policies.
  • Involving communities in the development and implementation of mental health policies can help to ensure that policies are responsive to the specific needs and priorities of local populations.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Regularly monitoring and evaluating policy implementation can assist in identifying any barriers or challenges and making necessary adjustments.
  • Adopting a multi-sectoral approach that involves collaboration between various sectors such as health, education, social welfare, housing, and employment can help to ensure that policies are implemented in a coordinated and effective manner.
  • Policy adaptability: Policies should be adaptable enough to change in response to feedback and suggestions from the community and stakeholders.

Latest research in the field of mental health

  • The increasing importance of early intervention in mental health: Early intervention, according to research, can help individuals recover more quickly and prevent mental health issues from worsening.
  • The application of technology in mental health: There has been an increase in the use of technology to deliver mental health care, such as mobile apps, virtual reality, and teletherapy. These technologies have been shown in studies to be effective in improving mental health outcomes.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on mental health: The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health, and research has been conducted to understand the extent of the impact and to develop mitigation strategies.
  • Advances in brain imaging and genetics: Brain imaging techniques and genetic studies are being used by researchers to gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of mental disorders and to develop more effective treatments.
  • The application of personalised medicine to mental health: To improve mental health outcomes, there is growing interest in the use of personalised medicine, which involves using genetic and other information to tailor treatment to the individual patient.
  • The advantages of nature-based interventions for mental health: Research has shown that spending time in nature can improve mental health by reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • The importance of social determinants of mental health: Research has shown that social determinants such as poverty, education, and social support are important in mental health.
  • The significance of addressing mental health in the workplace: Research has shown that workplace stress and burnout have a negative impact on mental health and that workplace interventions to promote mental well-being are important.

@the end

People’s ages have nothing to do with mental health issues. This threat can affect anyone, from children to the elderly. The government must develop and implement an effective, result-oriented mental health policy as soon as possible.

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