Constant growth in the rate of suicides in India is one of the biggest concerns our country has. As many as 16.5 persons per 1, 00, 000 people commit suicide in India every year. Considering the fact that the country’s population is more than 135 crores, the rate of suicide in India is very huge. If we compare southern states of India such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu with the northern states of the country i.e. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, we will find that there is a huge difference between the rates of suicide in these two regions. While the northern states of India have the suicide rate of fewer than 3 persons per 1, 00, 000 people every year, the southern states of the country show a dreadful suicide rate of more than 15 persons per 1, 00, 000 people. Some of the possible explanations for such a huge difference between the two regions may include higher literacy rate, higher expectations and higher socioeconomic status etc in the southern region of the country.
The very reason for this horrifying increasing rate of suicides in India is the lack of awareness campaigns to counter mental health in India. There is a huge need for understanding the sensitivity of the issue in our country. One of the most disheartening facts regarding the ever-increasing suicide rate in India is that the very topic of mental health in our country is seen as a taboo. We do not talk about mental health and the quality of life we should have. This bizarre truth of our society is causing us more lives due to depression, anxiety and stress. The most common characteristics that patients with mental health often have is the prolonged sadness, isolation, abandoned from society, shame or guilt.
The condition of mental health awareness can be understood by the fact that there is not even one psychiatrist and psychologist combined for every 1, 00, 000 patients in India. This shows the immediate need for mental health awareness campaigns in India. The insufficiency of the infrastructure and mental health professionals are two of the major causes that affect the increasing rate of suicide in India. Undoubtedly, the healthcare sector of India is growing fast and revolutionising rapidly; however, we are still quite inadequate in dealing with mental health.
Some Important Steps for Increasing Mental Health Awareness Campaigns in India
Having such a huge population in India, it is very important that the masses should be involved, communicated and educated about mental health and mental illness. We must communicate to masses and educate them about the need for recognising the symptoms, understanding the sensitivity of the issue and adopting the preventive measures regarding the mental health problems in India.
Some of the main channels through which we can educate and encourage the masses about the mental health are the government mental health awareness programs and campaigns, educational system, social media, and other mental awareness campaigns run by the private organisations etc.
Government Mental Health Awareness Programs and Campaigns
There is a dire need for the government of our country to take the mental health issue very seriously. While we do have some new mental health programs to tackle the concern; however, these programs are largely confined to urban areas of the country only. Hence, we must introduce such programs and campaigns through the public health system so that it reaches the rural areas of India.
Mental Health Awareness Through Educational System
One of the most feasible and important medium to educate students and youngsters about mental health is to introduce dedicated mental health awareness programs in the educational system of India. A child’s mind is like a blank canvas, which makes it easy for parents and educators to fill the canvas with meaningful life learnings. Adding mental health awareness programs in the curriculum will make children learn more and talk about the potential mental health issues they are dealing with.
Social Media Mental Health Awareness
Social media has become an integral part of society, especially in urban areas of the country. Hence, social media is one of the most powerful and easiest ways to approach the masses to learn and educate others about mental health. Seeing the ever-increasing usage of the internet and social media platforms in India, creating mental health awareness through these platforms can be quite effective and target the masses easily.
Other Mental Awareness Campaigns
Other than these above mentioned channels, there are many other organisations that run mental health programs and campaigns. However, the reach of these campaigns are very limited and hence, such campaigns are not as effective as they should be. Hence, we must increase our focus on cultivating such mental health awareness campaigns on a larger scale.
Even though we have had various strategies and approaches to tackle the issue of degrading mental health in India, we must accept that most of the policies and plans that we created to enhance the mental health awareness in India have not been succeeded as they should have been. This very statement is not just true for India but is equally correct for other underdevelopment countries. It is the high time that we must take mental health awareness very serious and introduce new approaches and strategies to deal with mental health issues in India. The current mental health situation of our country demands highly effective mental health policies, resources, training and regulations. When it comes to providing mental health patients with the right kind of care, we need to introduce some innovating and accredited programs that provide us with the proficient mental health experts. This can only be possible with the strong support of the government. We need to allocate funds for creating mental health awareness campaigns and educating more and more people. The right education is the key to solve mental health issues in a timely and effective manner.