30 lakh people suffering from mental illness
Over thirty lakh people in the country are suffering from mental illness and it is set to overtake cardiovascular diseases as single largest ailment by 2010, a report has said.india Updated: Oct 12, 2008 10:06 IST
Over thirty lakh people in the country are suffering from mental illness and it is set to overtake cardiovascular diseases as single largest ailment by 2010, a report has said.
"About 30 to 35 lakh people need hospitalisation at any time for mental illness. In contrast there are about 29,000 beds available in various hospitals for their treatment," the National Human Rights Commission said.
The NHRC, expressing concern over rise in number of mentally ill people, said there was a need to augment health care infrastructure in India to protect rights of such persons.
"The huge treatment gap with 50 to 90 per cent people not being able to access services is a serious human rights issue," it said.
The human rights body said morbidity on account of mental illness will overtake heart diseases by the year 2010.
"According to National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), there are over two crore people in India who are in need of treatment for serious mental disorder and about five crore people who are affected by common mental diseases," the report said.
Noting that there is a dearth of facilities in India to provide treatment to these people, it said stigma-related discrimination faced by persons with mental illness also makes it a "matter of deep concern" to the Commission.
The Commission said there is a need to focus on preventive, curative and other dimensions of mental health to protect the rights of persons with mental illnesses.
"The NHRC is of the view that institutionalisation alone is not the answer but it is essential to move towards community based treatment and social rehabilitation," it said.
Commenting on the issue, NHRC Chairman Justice S Rajendra Babu said there was a need to put more focus on rights of people suffering from mental illness.
"The changing economic world order with the impact of globalisation, peer pressure, professional tensions, diminishing family values are resulting in tremendous mental stress or disorders," Babu said.
He said the Commission would constantly endeavour to promote and nurture mental health of all needy citizens.
"We have realised, probably even more than before, the toll that current stresses and strife can take on our mental health and the need to nurture and promote it," he said.
The Commission has taken up several issues related to hospital and community mental health care. The Commission and its representatives have made several visits to many of the hospitals across the country.
Babu said the Commission was playing the role of a catalyst to ensure direct action for protection of the rights of vulnerable section of the society.
Bangalore-based NIMHANS and the NHRC are working together on a project called "Quality Assurance in Mental Health".
The recommendations of the project have become a benchmark for assessment of care and other infrastructures in Government psychiatric institutions across the country.