Government lacks clear data on number of people affected with mental disorders, admits health minister

The Health and Family Welfare Minister of State, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, has said that the government does not have any idea about the number of people affected by mental disorders in India.

Choubey said this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister also went on to share two very different estimates for the percentage of population affected with mental health issues.

The data is inconsistent and not precise.

The data of people affected by mental health issues is not maintained centrally - Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Health and Family Welfare Minister of State

A report of the World Health Organization (WHO) called Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders – Global Health Estimates was released in 2017. According to this, the estimated prevalence of depressive disorders in India is 4.5% of the total population.

However, the National Mental Health Survey by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru in 12 states had different findings. It said the prevalence was 2.7% of the total population.

Despite this, Choubey said that counseling sessions have not been made mandatory in educational institutions and offices.

The government is implementing a District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) for the detection, management, and treatment of mental disorders in 517 districts.

The major aspects of DMHP are counseling in schools and colleges, work place stress management, life skills training, suicide prevention services and Information.

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