Mental and emotional health have always been largely ignored or neglected by community because of attached social stigma to it. Although, mental, emotional and behavioural problems are increasing all over the world; still no serious attention is being provided to these health issues in large part of the world. Most of the countries have even failed to include these health issues in primary healthcare. Result, mental and emotional issues are increasing exponentially.
In fact, a recent report by WHO suggests that 20% of India’s population will suffer from some form of mental issue by the year 2020. Well, living with mental illness is never easy, no matter which part of the world you live in and it can be particularly hard in India, the country with pre-conceived notions and social stigma attached to such illness.
What is Mental Health?
According to World Health Organization (WHO) mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.” It can be viewed as absence of a mental disorder from someone’s psychological state and its functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment. WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community; and is affected by cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories.
Techstory with ePsyClinic.com presents a peep into the status of mental and emotional illness in India. The analysis deals with major mental problems the population of the country are exposed to, methods to handle them and new advents in technology to tackle these problems.
ePsyClinic.com is the country’s leading online platform that provides mental health care through world class therapies and counseling services to clients in comfort of their homes, offices or wherever they may be. It delivers such impeccable services through the interactive modern technologies of audio, video, chat and messages. Svieda-ventures-private-limited, the parent company of ePsyClinic, was incepted in July 2013 and is based out of Delhi. ePsyClinic.com was launched, on 12th March 2015. It aims to deliver uncompromising and unparalleled quality of care, management and treatment for mental health and emotional wellness services.
Shipra Dawar, founder & CEO of ePsyClinic.com, is expert at devising strategies, marketing, new product & service/concept development and QA/QC of services and technology. She is on a mission to bring health care services back to where they belong; as a basic right of every individual rather than a luxury available to a significant few.
Scenario of mental illness in country
While dealing with patients on a daily basis, Shipra observed that perception on dealing with mental health problems both at the client and provider level has changed remarkably for good. However, the mental health value chain is still somewhat conservative and is lacking the required pro-action and innovation. The country has only an illness focused model which adds to the persistent stigma for availing mental health care services along with making treatment outcomes a little unpredictable. We need a more open, dialogue enabling and client centric approach for mental wellness. Mental wellness should in no way be different than physical wellness.
Depression, anxiety and chronic stress are some of the most common issues that people in urban India face today. Depression has now been termed at places as the common cold of mental health issues. It is widespread and if kept untreated & unchecked, can be a very debilitating condition to deal and live with, both for the person and his/her loved ones.
Chronic Unhappiness is also widespread these days. Competitive pressures, performance linked bonuses, long working hours, care-giving, dealing with loss, less meaningful interactions etc. have all created and added to bundle of causes creating unhappiness. These causes act together to create other major problems such as suicidal attempts, Dysthymia etc. In fact, India was right on the top of WHO’s list for number of suicides in Southeast Asia in year 2014. Along with need for mental issues management, there is a growing need for mental wellness services.
These problems need immediate attention although not every emotional or mental ‘stressor’ requires ongoing treatment or management. Many minor issues are like a bruise, they need some care, preventive measures and some healing helps whereas major issues require professional consultation and full-time care. However, there are many methods which you can adopt in your life to avert these issues including lifestyle changes, meditation and addition of calming activities, sticking to a healthy schedule etc. The right strategies can be availed by a discussion with an expert mental wellness provider or through professional articles & other free resources. For more deep seated issues, an extensive work and follow-up is required with a professional and empathetic mental & emotional health care provider who can support and help the person navigate effectively.
Role of technology in tackling the issue
Within the country, the rise in number of cases of mental illness has raised alarms for to take concrete steps to handle the situation. The country witnessed launch of its first ever National Mental Health Policy on 10 October 2014. Henceforth, October 10 will be observed as National Mental Health Day across India each year. All these actions are playing their role in improving the situation however; technology is proving to be major enabler in handling the situation. With technological advancements, not only seeking help becomes more anytime/anywhere accessible but also records, real-time notifications, follow-ups, management processes become very efficient. Technology also enables real-time communication and makes flow of information seamless. Technology has some great benefits especially for mental health care delivery to people with mild to moderate issues.
Online technologies are powerful tool. Video and audio-consultation, live online chats or messages can become the basis of forming a connection between the provider and the client in an ongoing manner, just as face to face visits. But these tools require a different skill set to use them for health care delivery. However, a major challenge in front of the country before it can adopt these technologies is lack of trained providers of services. Cures offered in online conversation be it video, audio or chat are different from face to face physical cures. Hence the providers have to be separately trained in gauging a client’s online cues to formulate an effective management/treatment strategy. Technology will turn out to be an enabler in the real sense only when the use of it is mastered for delivering quality care.
Initiatives by visionaries like Shipra Dawar in form of ePsyClinic.com are dire need of time. There is a compelling need to erase the stigma attached to mental and emotional issues, make people aware of the ubiquity and normalcy of such issues and encourage them to seek medical care before such conditions aggravate!