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World Mental health day - October 10: Young people hit by mental illness more, say experts in Pune

40% of the patients coming to psychiatrists are between the age group of 16 and 29 years

pune Updated: Oct 10, 2018 15:44 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,experts,mental illness
Regional mental hospital in association with Chaitanya mental health care centre will be presenting a street play on youth and mental health in the changing world in Pune, Ahmednagar and Satara. (HT PHOTO )

World mental health day was first observed on October 10, 1992. It became an annual affair, thanks to the efforts taken by world federation for mental health to create awareness about the illness.

Mental illness, which has been on a significant rise over the last few years, is mostly affecting younger population, said experts. As many as 40 per cent of them are in the age group between 16 and 29 years, they said.

Common mental health disorders (CMHD) include anxiety, depression, learning disabilities and adjustment disorder. Experts say that the scenario was different 10 years ago when only schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were seen as mental illness.

Dr Sukhada Chimote, central head and consultant psychiatrist at Institute of Psychological Health (IPH), said, “We used to see cases of severe mental illness like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder earlier. Now, young people come to us with problems related to adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression. I have patients as young as three. People between the age group of 16 and 29) come to me, in the outpatient department.”

Similarly Dr Swati Bhave, executive director of association of adolescent and child care in India (AACCI), who is also attached to the Jehangir hospital said, “ There is a drastic change in the aetiology of mental illness. We are seeing more of young people with depression coming for treatment. The reasons include academic pressure, changing educational patterns, relationship issue and ragging.

According to a report by World health organisation, the suicidal rate has increased by 40 percent globally in the last few years ( HOW MANY YEARS)

Bhave said that out of the patients who come to her, close to 40 percent are patients under depression. If timely help is not provided to such patients, there are chances of the patients committing suicide, she said.

Bhave, who conducts workshops on how to pick up early signs of suicides, says , “Signs of suicidal tendency are easy to spot. One needs to be watchful of signs in people suffering from depressions. Common signs include insomnia or change in sleeping patterns, eating excessively or drop in weight and lack of interest in activities. Parents and teachers can easily spot the symptoms and seek help.”

“Rather than counting the number of suicides, we should come up with preventive measures. Awareness and early intervention are two tools to help patients with mental illness,” said Dr Chimote.

‘Need more psychiatrists’

Dr MK Raju, past president of Indian psychiatry society (IPS), said, “We do not have a registry on the number of mental disorders reported in India. There is no data available. There is a rise in the cases of depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. IPS has suggested for a national registry. It will help us in studying the evolvement of mental illness and its aetiology. For the very first time in 2016, a national mental survey was conducted. The survey found out that close to 15 crore of the Indian population (then) had some kind of mental illness. Only early treatment and awareness can help. Also, we are in dire need of psychiatrists in India. Right now, we have only one psychiatrist for three lakh people and this is not a good ratio. We need more psychiatrists.”

Activities galore

Regional mental hospital has been conducting various activities from October 3 onwards. Dr Ajit Phadnis, medical superintendent of the hospital told HT, “We have started with lectures and workshops in schools and colleges. We have planned to cover 9 schools and colleges in all. The last lecture will be held on October 11 at Army public school, Dighi.”

The hospital will also be conducting a street play in association with Chaitanya mental health care centre to create awareness among masses. The street play will be performed in Pune, Ahmednagar and Satara. Rony George, founder, Chaitanya mental health care centre said, “The street play is based on youth and mental health in the changing world.”

Schizophrenia Awareness association (SAA) has announced an internship programme for college students named Sakham where students will be equipped with basic information on mental health and illnesses. They will be also working on eradicating stigma from the society regarding mental illness and work towards sensitising students from different schools and colleges. The internship programme will start from next month onwards, ended Anil Vartak, vice president of the association. For more details contact Anil Vartak: 9503710859

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 15:43 IST