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Mental disorders high in South India

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Mental disorders high in South India

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Concerns and challenges, ways to address them.

Context: Highlights of the study titled ‘burden of mental disorders across the States of India: Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017’.

It has been conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Key findings:

  1. Mental disorders of various kinds are adversely affecting a large population of Indians, especially in South Indian States.
  2. One in every seven Indians were affected by mental disorders of varying severity in 2017.
  3. Back in 2017, there were 19.73 crore people with mental disorders, which comprises of 14.3 per cent of the total population of the country.
  4. The proportional contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India has almost doubled from 1990 to 2017.
  5. Prevalence of depressive disorders was highest in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Telangana in the high Socio- demographic index (SDI) State group and Andhra Pradesh in the middle SDI State group.

Why depression and anxiety high in South India?

The higher prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in southern States could be related to the higher levels of modernisation and urbanisation in these States and to many other factors that are not yet well understood.

The study found positive relationship between depression and suicide death rates at the State level, with suicide death rates also being higher in the southern States than in the northern ones.

What other mental health disorders?

Other notable mental health disorders in South Indian States were schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability (IDID), conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD).

North-South Divide:

Interestingly, mental health issues that manifest among adults were generally higher in the more developed Southern Indian States than in less developed Northern Indian States. Prevalence of mental disorders with onset of predominantly in childhood and adolescence was generally higher in the less developed Northern States than in developed Southern States.

Lessons from the study:

There is poor coverage of mental health services, lack of awareness, and the stigma attached to mental disorders in the Country. There is a need to invest heavily in mental health services to facilitate prevention where possible and to provide affordable treatment, care, and rehabilitation, as well as to attempt integration of mental and physical health services.

Sources: the Hindu.