According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is the most depressed country in the world, followed by China and the United States of America. The report further states that India, China and the U.S. are the most affected by anxiety, schizophrenic disorders and manic depressive illnesses.
Given the current state of mental health disorders in the country, statistics reveal that those suffering from mental illnesses account for nearly 6.5% of India’s population. This percentage is forecasted to increase by a staggering 20% by the end of this decade.
Among the many challenges faced by our nation today is the state of the mental health crisis. However, due to growing awareness, this scenario is seeing a positive transformation. Today, the significance of mental health in the overall well-being of a person and its impact on the national economy is slowly gaining acknowledgement.
The theme for World Health Day 2019
World Health Day falls on 7th April. Every year on this day, the WHO picks a theme to commemorate the occasion. ‘Depression, let’s talk’ was the theme for 2017. In 2018, it was ‘Health for All’. This year the theme is ‘Universal Health Coverage’. The WHO has been unwavering in its efforts towards creating awareness on mental health issues and primary access to healthcare for all.
Mental illness, its warning signs and symptoms
Mental illness covers a wide range of mental health conditions or disorders that affect one’s behaviour, thinking and mood. Most people face mental health issues now and then. But these issues become a cause for concern when certain signs begin to manifest and become a stumbling-block in one’s day to life.
Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Suicidal thinking
- Excessive fears or worries, extreme guilt
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Radical mood changes of highs and lows
- Inability to cope with stress or daily problems
- Reduced ability to concentrate or confused thinking
- Major changes in eating habits
According to a report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India faces a treatment gap of 50% to 70% when it comes to mental health care. Moreover, government data reveals a dismal number of mental healthcare professionals in the country. As per WHO, there are only three psychiatrists per million people in India as compared to 5.6 psychiatrists for the same in other Commonwealth countries.
To address the need, the government has acknowledged this treatment gap. Some promising initiatives include:
- A new Mental Healthcare Bill 2016 passed by the Lok Sabha, decriminalising the attempt to suicide. It has also banned electric shock therapy as a means to treat mental illness among children. Decriminalising attempt to suicide can allow a person to be seen as someone who requires immediate help and not as someone who is a criminal.
- Recently, the Delhi High Court passed a judgement issuing directions to the state governments to set up halfway-houses for mentally ill prisoners. Mentally ill patients are likely to relapse if untreated with care. A halfway house can look after patients who have just been released from mental health institutions, so they can acclimate to normal living conditions. By being in a safe place with professionally trained therapists, they can reintegrate in society.
MORE by Reliance Health Insurance
With mental well-being at the backdrop, Reliance Health Insurance has launched a health insurance plan by the brand name – MORE. The product primarily aims at making health insurance easy-to-use, easy-to-buy and easy-to-choose. Reliance Health Insurance has been a pioneer in the field of health insurance to include mental illnesses, under in-patient treatment, in its insurance cover.
Some key benefits of the product are as follows:
- MORE Time: If you are looking to derive more value from your insurance cover, a longer tenure can appeal to you. The benefit gives extra protection of one month for a 12-month plan and two months extra cover for a 24-month plan without additional cost.
- MORE Cover: MORE enables you to obtain a cover for ₹ 7 lakhs for a sum insured price of ₹ 5 lakhs. This includes ₹ 5 lakhs as the base cover and ₹ 2 lakhs as the MORE cover benefit. Or, you can get a cover of ₹ 13 lakhs for a price of ₹ 10 lakhs sum insured.
- MORE Global: Health insurance remains active even when you are travelling abroad. It provides coverage for unexpected treatments required while going overseas.
Thus, it is helpful to buy health insurance to get access to comprehensive coverage and secure yourself financially.