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
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.