As we wait for the 2023 federal budget to see what funds are allocated to mental health, we will broaden our horizons and clearly assess what exactly those funds are needed for. is needed.
There was a time when I was worried about the “brain drain”. Now, it’s time to worry about “brain tension.” Our youth are depressed and burnt out like never before. After the pandemic, he reported a 35% increase in stress, anxiety and depression.
This burnout stressor deserves close scrutiny. Only then can we establish mechanisms to support them.
As the post-pandemic world struggles to stabilize the economy again, young people worry about their careers and future. Job stagnation, job and financial insecurity, and loss of income are major concerns today. Workplace pressure is causing burnout.
The pandemic has isolated us like never before. The problem of loneliness now pervades the very constitution of young people. Many people are unable to connect or open up to anyone. Increased relationship and family problems are exacerbating the situation.
This mental health burnout crisis needs to be tackled holistically, including how solutions add to the mental health budget. am.
Budget allocation to mental health has been an important concern for many years. In 2022, out of the 86,200 kroner allocated for health care, only 670 kroner was allocated for direct spending on mental health. Of this, INR 630 crore will be donated to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) and another mental health institution, LGBRI, and to the National Mental Health Program (NMHP), which provides 90% of mental health services. There is only 400 crore rupees left. to the country. The escalating allocation of funds can give wings to mental health plans and programs.
However, in 2020-2021, according to some published reports, NMHP used less than half of its allotted Rs 400 crore. This is cause for concern. Following the mandate of the National Mental Health Act 2017, NMHP should have been overheated and demanded more funding to raise awareness and expand the reach of mental health care. This means that the instructions given to the NMHP should be clearer.
Mental health literacy is key to solving the mental health crisis. Young people are tech-savvy, and digital platforms should not only raise awareness, but encourage them to provide mental health support at the click of a button.
In October 2022, 23 Tele MANAS centers will be established to provide free mental health counseling across India. The 2023 Union Budget allows us to allocate more funds and efforts to increase awareness of the Tele MANAS Helpline among the public.
Young people are much more open to seeking help, but the cost of mental health treatment is a major deterrent. I can’t afford to pay for a session of Outpatient psychiatric care should be available in all primary care centers, especially in rural areas. Like physical health care, it should be provided free of charge in all public hospitals. This requires a tremendous amount of budget allocation, far beyond what has been allocated to date. This is an area that needs a lot of work.
Stigma against mental illness is still very common and pervasive. People hide mental health issues out of fear of being ostracized. This is common not only in rural areas, but also in educated people and in the corporate world. Instructions must be given to the NMHP to create a nationwide campaign in the position of war towards the elimination of mental health stigma.
14% of India reportedly suffer from mental health problems. However, there are only 0.75 psychiatrists per 100,000 population to accommodate this huge demographic. Capacity building is very important. However, currently medical colleges have very limited mental health and psychiatric curricula. This is where government subsidies make a difference. Our medical colleges need to give more weight to mental health research as a stream. We need funds and directives to make this happen urgently. This will provide much-needed manpower to reduce treatment gaps.
In conclusion, youth is our future. Our progress is directly related to their mental health. Helping them emerge from this burnout is critical and all stakeholders need to join forces to turn the tide.
(The author is Dr. Neerja Birla, founder and chairman of MPower, an initiative of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, and the views expressed in this article are her own.)