Q) Discuss the various aspects of Mental Health. Its impact on the governance in India goes overlooked. Do you agree? (150 words)
GS 2: Health; GS 4: Aptitude
Introduction: According to WHO, the “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It is not just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities. Peak mental health is about not only avoiding active conditions but also looking after on-going wellness and happiness. WHO also estimates that about 7.5% Indians suffer from some mental disorder and predicts that by end of 2020 roughly 20% of India will suffer from mental illnesses.
There are many vulnerable groups who will suffer from psychological distress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicide and suicidal behaviour due to economic recession, insecure job situation, unemployment, lower socio-economic status.
- Some of the symptoms of mental illness are:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
- Feelings restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
- Being tired and without energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
- During COVID 19 Various other reasons have emerged:
- People fear they or any family member might get infected.
- Loss of livelihood or business or job or risk of losing a job.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, anxiety and panic disorders, generalised anxiety disorder and mood disorders will be at the top of the list and the impact on mental health could be long-lasting.
- Delay in seeking professional help because of stigma surrounding mental health.
- Teens are now forced to stay indoors with no real social contact.
- Long hours of online classes are also a source of stress for them with frequent glitches.
- Impact of Mental illness on Governance:
- Drop in efficiency with illness: Inability to come up with ideas or think drops the efficiency of governance.
- Impulsive behavior: For example, often highly mentally stressed police officials or administrative staff becomes impulsive. Thus we see incidents of violence against civilians.
- Poverty and Hunger: Poor mental health in childhood and adolescence increase the risk of poverty and other adverse economic out comes in adulthood.
- Impact health and education outcomes: Mental disorder in parents can also adversely impact on the health, development and education of their children.
- Increased economic burden: Mental disorders impose a significant economic burden, not just on the individuals with the disorders but also on households, communities, employers, healthcare systems and government budgets.
- Increase in Crime rates: Studies have shown that there is a link between mental illness and increased crime rates.
Conclusion: India has a National Mental Health Policy to promote mental health, prevent mental illness, enable recovery from mental illness, promote destigmatization and desegregation, and ensure socio-economic inclusion. A similar step is needed the direction of police and administrative reforms to assess the mental health of all officers. Incidents like violence against civilians should be an opportunity to check and reform the system.