Psychiatric symptoms are common in general population in both sides of the globe. These symptoms – worry, tiredness, and sleepless nights affect more than half of the adults at some time, while as many as one person in seven experiences some form of diagnosable neurotic disorder.
The World Bank report (1993) revealed that the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) loss due to neuro-psychiatric disorder is much higher than diarrhea, malaria, worm infestations and tuberculosis if taken individually. According to the estimates daily loss due to mental disorders are expected to represent 15% of the global burden of diseases by 2020.
During the last two decades, many epidemiological studies have been conducted in India, which show that the prevalence of major psychiatric disorder is about the same all over the world. The prevalence reported from these studies range from the population of 18 to 207 per 1000 with the median 65.4 per 1000 and at any given time, about 2 –3 % of the population, suffer from seriously, incapacitating mental disorders or epilepsy. Most of these patients live in rural areas remote from any modern mental health facilities. A large number of adult patients (10.4 – 53%) coming to the general OPD are diagnosed mentally ill. However, these patients are usually missed because either medical officer or general practitioner at the primary health care unit does not ask detailed mental health history. Due to the under-diagnosis of these patients, unnecessary investigations and treatments are offered which heavily cost to the health providers.
The Government of India has launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982, keeping in view the heavy burden of mental illness in the community, and the absolute inadequacy of mental health care infrastructure in the country to deal with it.
NMHP has 3 components:
Agencies like World Bank and WHO have been contacted to support various components of the programme. Funds are provided by the Govt. of India to the state governments and the nodal institutes to meet the expenditure on staff, equipments, vehicles, medicine, stationary, contingencies, training, etc. for initial 5 years and thereafter they should manage themselves. Govt. of India has constituted central Mental Health Authority to oversee the implementation of the Mental Health Act 1986. It provides for creation of state Mental Health Authority also to carry out the said functions.
The National Human Rights Commission also monitors the conditions in the mental hospitals along with the government of India and the states are currently acting on the recommendation of the joint studies conducted to ensure quality in delivery of mental care.
Last Modified : 3/4/2020
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