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Indian Government Must Not Ignore Country’s Mental Health Challenges

Livemint: India’s ignored mental health challenge
Editorial Board

“…The five research papers released by the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative last week and published in The Lancet family of journals deserve attention … Each report focuses on a specific non-communicable disease (NCD) … and aims to inform Modicare’s state-specific planning. One of them is particularly welcome, focusing on an issue that has received short shrift so far: suicide and the associated mental health issues. … There have been some positive developments over the past few years. The decriminalization of suicide last year was long overdue and welcome. The same holds true for the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s mandating last month that insurance companies are to make provisions to cover mental illnesses in their policies along with physical illnesses. But it remains to be seen how well this will be implemented, given that a standard health insurance policy covers in-patient hospitalization, while mental illnesses more often require out-patient care like counseling and psychotherapy. … Modicare has focused government and public attention on India’s decrepit health care system. This is to the good. But in the heat and noise, the challenges and needs of India’s mental health landscape should not be forgotten” (9/19).