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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Every 8th Punjabi suffering from mental illness: NMH Survey 2016-2017

One out of eight Punjabis is suffering from mental illness and 80% Punjabis are not getting any access to treatment.This has emerged in the National Mental Health Survey: Punjab (2016-17).

punjab Updated: Apr 08, 2017 17:21 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
(Shutterstock/Representative Image)

One out of eight Punjabis is suffering from mental illness and 80% Punjabis are not getting any access to treatment.This has emerged in the National Mental Health Survey: Punjab (2016-17).

The data was released on the occasion of World Health Day on Friday by the department of psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

It was coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru.

Also read |World Health Day: Let’s talk depression

A total of 2,895 adult population from four districts - Faridkot, Ludhiana, Moga, Patiala of Punjab were enrolled for the survey, which was completed in six months, August 2015, April 2016.

It was found that every 6th Punjabi has suffered from mental illness and every 8th is still suffering.

The survey found that in Punjab, the total lifetime prevalence of mental illnesses was 18% (national level: 13.6%) and the current prevalence was 13% (national level:10.5%).

“It means, there are nearly 21.9 lakh people suffering from mental illness in Punjab. Only 20% of them (4.38 lakh) have access to treatment and rest 80% are not getting any treatment,” said Dr BS Chavan, head, psychiatry department, GMCH-32

The survey mentions that treatment gap was 80% for common mental disorders, 57% for severe mental disorders, 81% for alcohol use disorders and 82% for depressive disorders.

Nearly 0.5% of the population surveyed people have suicidal risk.


Prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and other substance use disorder in Punjab were 7.9% (national: 4.65%) , 5.5% (national: 20.89%), and 2.48% (0.57%) respectively.

“It means 8% Punjabis over 18 year age are dependent on alcohol. Nearly, 4 lakh people are regularly taking hard drugs (opium and heroin). Out of these, only 80,000 have received treatment. The risk of spread of HIV and hepatitis B is very high among Punjab youth,” said Dr BS Chavan.


Dr Chavan said that major reason is limited treatment facilities. He said that there are less than 60 psychiatrists in the government hospitals and medical colleges of Punjab. While the total number after including private sector is only 127.

“Ideally, there should be one psychiatrist per lakh population, but in Punjab the ratio is 0.46 per lakh. Punjab needs at least 270 psychiatrists,” he said.

He informed that there are only 13 MD psychiatry seats in four medical colleges of Punjab, which means it will take at least 11.5 years for Punjab to meet out the deficiencies. Further, there is acute shortage of mental health professionals as there are just 12 clinical psychologists, whereas the number should be at least 226. Apart from this, there are just 32 psychiatry social workers and 4 nurses who are trained in mental health. The figure includes both government and private sector. 19 out of 22 districts of Punjab are not running district mental health programme, which is most important to improve the scenario.


Men had almost two-time more of lifetime mental illnesses and thrice the prevalence of current mental illness as compared to women. Elderly people (over 60 years) followed by those in 30-39 years and rural population are more vulnerable to mental illness.