It’s been a year since two devastating waves of Covid-19. We have a lot of things to deal with before us. We rarely think about the impact mental health has on our society. The death of a promising newcomer actor who appeared to have a history of mental illness made headlines in many drawing rooms across the country on June 14, prompting Modern News to temporarily allow his media debauched displays of debauchery. Did. Fully aided in its pursuit by social media.
The incident aroused a pensive mood throughout the country. The news came as a wake-up call to India’s harsh realities from the glamorous glamour of celebrities. This news has broadened my horizons, especially regarding the need for urgency. Mental health remains a luxury, even for those at the top. And after a year in his two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian healthcare has revealed itself in all its glory.
In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the impact of depression and anxiety disorders on the global economy at $1 trillion, equivalent to a third of India’s economy. In a country where the average Indian earns around $2,000 a year, providing basic mental health care to her nearly 1.4 billion people has always been considered nearly impossible. The Modi government implemented progressive changes by enacting the Mental Health Act 2017 (which replaced the previous law from 1987). Apart from making access to mental health care a statutory right (Article 18), the law goes a step further. Section 115 decriminalized attempted suicide.
This section presumes that a person attempting suicide is suffering from severe stress and prohibits the state from initiating prosecution under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. The legislation therefore provides a welcome relief for mental health patients. Similarly, other provisions such as legal aid, statutory remedies and compulsory inspections are also a big plus. However, we still lack quality healthcare infrastructure. In light of our harsh economic realities, our best hope is to focus on other viable options. Community health services are worth considering as they have proven to be more accessible and less exclusive. These approaches are essential when the cost of building a conventional infrastructure is unbearable. Of course, these are starting points for a broader discussion. (Hopefully there is a desire to have a discussion after the Covid-19 recession!)
Another sad chapter to face this pandemic was social media. Our “online” modern lives are flooded with digital acquaintances. This shows a marked lack of true relationships. Sooner or later we will come to recognize the harmful effects of excessive consumption of online material. But it’s never been this much.
Some people enjoy the anonymity of their existence, especially when they are young, and that works for a while. But the traditional ties of family and society bring much-needed rest to lonely hearts. Research supports an essential need for social interaction, and most institutions that facilitate such interaction are not state-owned. I went to great lengths to establish the Ministry of Loneliness. The results of such initiatives have yet to be scientifically established.
That said, India does not have such resources. The core of financial allocation deserves a lengthy essay that is effectively evaluated. In short, where does it go from here?The media will once again jump on the dead actor’s tragedy.The next few days, armed with obscene material, will be a social feast for his media. All that responsibility rests on the shoulders of responsible stakeholders, including public health experts. For some people in dire need, the motto goes something like this: Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)).
Unfortunately, it’s not the go-to for public health professionals.
(The author is an attorney at the Delhi High Court.)