Community-based mental health care should be a top priority: KIMS experts
Bhubaneswar, October 10: It is rightly said that even if you own an unaccountable fortune, without good mental health you cannot enjoy it and so, despite of everything, a person needs to have a sound mind for a peaceful living. As we celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, the day comes with a theme by the World Health Organisation to “make mental health and well-being a global priority’’.
COVID pandemic has exposed all of us to a lot of vulnerabilities relating to our mental well-being. In the post-pandemic situation, the incidence of anxiety and mood disorders, stress-related disorders, suicidal and self-harm behavior, addictive disorders and sleep-related disorders continue to rise across the globe.
Prof. Dr Rama Chandra Das, senior psychiatrist and Medical Superintendent of Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) feels “Social and economic inequalities, prolonged conflicts among countries, wars, rise in violence and public health emergencies have become the primary cause of large-scale migration in different regions of the world. All these factors threaten our progress towards improved physical and psychological well-being as a civil society.’’
Neuropsychiatry illnesses and mental health issues have a disproportionately large impact on developing countries like India but are rarely recognized or adequately funded. Many now acknowledge that the mental health care system and staff are inadequate. A fair public health policy requires addressing the ethical implications of mental health inequalities for people and nations. We need to improve mental health care so that a community-based system that meets the full range of mental health needs is readily available.
Stigma, prejudice and misconceptions for mental illnesses continue to be barriers in seeking treatment for people suffering from mental illnesses. Discrimination and stigma prevent access to the proper care and social inclusion for all patients. We hope to see a society where everyone’s mental health is respected, nurtured, and safeguarded; where everyone has the chance to experience and appreciate mental health and the freedom to access to the mental health care they require.
Dr Udit Panda, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, KIMS says “we can all do our lot to raise awareness about mental well-being in our state, and World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to do just that.’’
Dr Panda adds “people with mental health conditions, caregivers, mental health professionals, policymakers, bureaucracy and all other stakeholders should all come forward to raise awareness about positive mental health, mental illnesses, capacity building in mental health care and progressive policy changes for integrating mental health services into primary health care.’’
Stigma and discrimination based on factors such as age, gender, caste, religion, and ethnicity should end to reduce a disproportionate impact on the mental health of minority communities.