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Need For Counselling To Deal With Depression

Mental health disorders are not adequately addressed, and the issues of mental health and the need for mental health services have generally been under-emphasized

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As per the World Health Organisation’s Report “Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders – Global Health Estimates” released in March 2017, the estimated prevalence of depressive disorders in India is 4.5% of the total population.

The Central Government conducted National Mental Health Survey through National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, in 12 states of the country.  As per the survey, the prevalence of depressive disorders in India is estimated to be 2.7% of the total population.

To address the burden of mental disorders, the Government of India is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) since 1982. The Government is supporting implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 339 districts of the country for detection, management and treatment of mental disorders/ illness. With the objective to address the shortage of mental health professionals in the country and to increase the PG training capacity in mental health as well as improving the tertiary care treatment facility, establishment of 21 Centres of Excellence in Mental Health and strengthening/ establishment of 39 Post Graduate training departments in mental health specialties have been funded. Besides, three Central Institutions viz. National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur and Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi have been strengthened for augmenting human resources in the area of mental health and for capacity building in the country. The DMHP has been restructured to include additional components like suicide prevention services, work place stress management, life skills training and counselling in schools and colleges. Support is also provided for Central/ State Mental Health Authorities, Research and Training and for Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities.

Over the years, a large body of evidence has demonstrated the feasibility of interventions in different resource settings. Effective management of depression includes: (i) early recognition of the condition across the life span; (ii) provision of appropriate and effective treatment, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions; and (iii) ensuring continuity of care and adequate follow up for reducing relapse and chronic course of the illness. Secondly, services for depression should be integrated within the existing health system with ongoing national programmes and into the health related sectors with adequate sensitization and training of all concerned, supported by specialist supervision. Thirdly, awareness and demand for service in the community should be increased through health education.

On a national level, mental health disorders are not adequately addressed, and the issues of mental health and the need for mental health services have generally been under-emphasized 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Anupam Srivastava

The author is Director, Insight Life Counseling Services

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