In their own words: What it’s like to fight mental illness without cover | india-news | Hindustan Times
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In their own words: What it’s like to fight mental illness without cover

Some stop treatment midway; others don’t seek professional help at all. Three people who’ve been there explain why insurance for the mentally ill matters.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2017 21:41 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
(Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

‘I HAVE NEVER SOUGHT HELP. IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE’

Rijul Victor, 26, musician

I just have no control over my worries. Once one starts, it keeps growing. At times, when I’m driving I feel like I will crash at any moment.

If I have to meet someone new, I keep worrying about the negative things that may happen.

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and psychosomatic disorder in 2014. I never sought treatment.

A single 45-minute session costs about Rs 1,000 and I was prescribed two sessions a week for some months. It was just too expensive. A year ago, I had to cancel a show at a very popular café because I had a panic attack. The organisers were really upset and called me unprofessional.

People are more accepting of physical conditions. Mental health is still treated as something made up. I hope that with the changes in policy there is also a change in the way people think.

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‘BASIC TREATMENT SHOULDN’T BE A LUXURY’

Amrita (name changed), a 29-year-old programmer

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 2016. It had been two years since the symptoms began – mainly headaches and body aches. I used painkillers, did CT scans. Nothing was found.

My condition worsened. I started having panic attacks where I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. I quit my job.

That’s when I decided to opt for therapy. I had sessions with a psychologist twice a week for a year and each session cost over Rs 1,000.

Through it all I would often wonder, what if I didn’t have the privilege of being able to pay for all this? After a few months of treatment, I started working again. I still see my therapist.

It is really unfortunate that such basic treatment is a luxury in our country.

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‘SO MANY PEOPLE DON’T GET HELP BECAUSE OF THE PRICE TAG’

Tamseel Hussain, 29, communications consultant and mental health activist

After my father passed away in 2013, there was a long period when I would worry endlessly and my mind was crowded with negative thoughts. Some days I would even miss work because of my anxiety.

I suffered a panic attack the following year. I was in the gym and suddenly had this really uneasy feeling, as if my heart would pop out of my chest.

I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. This affected my work and personal life.

I underwent weekly therapy for four months and it was life changing. But each 45-minute session cost Rs 900.

While campaigning, I meet a lot of young people who hesitate to get professional help because of the expense. Insurance will encourage a lot more such people to seek the right kind of help at the right time.