World Mental Health Day 2012
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year to raise public awareness about mental health issues.
World Mental Health Day was started by World Federation for Mental Health in 1992. Basic aim
of this day is to educate people on mental health issues and their consequences.
According to World Health Organization, 25% of the world population is
suffering from mental illnesses. But only 40% of these cases are diagnosed and treated. One
million annual suicides are the result of these undiagnosed or missed cases. Most
common causes for these suicides are depression, dementia, anxiety and Schizophrenia.
We concentrate more on physical health but not on mental health. We can prevent most of the suicides if we have basic knowledge on
the symptoms of depression and other mental disorders.
WHO resolution on mental health
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has adopted a resolution on January 24, 2012 that focuses on the global burden of mental
disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response from health and social sectors at the country level. The
just-concluded 130th executive board meeting of the WHO adopted the resolution, moved by India and supported by the United States of
America and Switzerland. This marks the first time in over a decade that WHO has, at its highest levels, taken note of this very major public health concern.
Mental disorders account for 13 per cent of the global burden
of the diseases and, in keeping with latest thinking, the resolution recognizes the importance of early identification, care and
recovery, the problems of stigma, poverty and homelessness and the need for community based intervention including de-institutionalized
care. It is clearly recognized that all countries must take steps to promote mental health and empower persons with mental disorders to
lead a full and productive life in the community. India had played a key role in getting mental disorders included in the
non-communicable diseases (NCDs) list at the first Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non- communicable Disease
Control in Moscow last year. Pleading for its case, India had argued that “like all non-communicable diseases, mental disorders
required long term treatment and affected the quality of life.”
Some facts on mental health
Mental, neurological and behavioral disorders are common to all countries and cause
immense suffering. People with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and
increased mortality. These disorders are the cause of staggering economic and social costs. Hundreds of millions of people
worldwide are affected by mental, behavioral, neurological and substance use disorders.
For example, estimates made by WHO in 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffer from depression and 25
million people from schizophrenia; 91 million people are affected by alcohol use disorders and 15 million by drug use disorders. A recently
published WHO report shows that 50 million people suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer and other dementias.
In addition to the above figures, many other disorders affect the nervous system or produce neurological
sequelae. Projections based on a WHO study show that worldwide in 2005, 326 million people suffer from migraine; 61 million from cerebrovascular diseases; 18
million from neuroinfections or neurological sequelae of infections. Number of people with neurological sequelae of
nutritional disorders and neuropathies (352 million) and neurological sequelae secondary to injuries (170 million) also add substantially to the above burden.
About 877,000 people die by suicide every year. One in four patients visiting a health service has at least one mental, neurological or
behavioral disorder but most of these disorders are neither diagnosed nor treated.
| Mental illnesses affect and are affected by
chronic conditions such as cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Untreated, they bring about unhealthy
behavior, non-compliance with prescribed medical regimens, diminished immune functioning, and poor prognosis. Cost-effective treatments exist for most disorders and, if
correctly applied, could enable most of those affected to become functioning members of society. Barriers to effective treatment of mental illness include lack of recognition of the
seriousness of mental illness and lack of understanding about the benefits of services. Policy makers, insurance companies,
health and labour policies, and the public at large – all discriminate between physical and mental problems.
Most middle and low-income countries devote less than 1% of their health expenditure to mental health.
Consequently mental health policies, legislation, community care facilities, and treatments for people with mental illness are not given the priority they deserve.
Mental health in India
At least 7% of India's population of 1.22 billion suffers from some form
of mental disorder, according to the Union health ministry. More than
7.2 lakh people in Tamil Nadu require periodic psychiatric care. At least 1% or 7,200 of these people suffer from serious mental illnesses
such as schizophrenia or neurosis, says Dr N Sathiyanathan, former director of Institute of Mental Health. "Many people, even in cities,
are not diagnosed and or treated," Dr Sathiyanathan says. "Even family physicians are not trained to detect signs that a person has
a psychological problem. Even those who do, often do not ensure that they receive professional treatment and care on time."
Mental disorder is a physiological condition that can cause distress and
is reflected through a person’s behavior. The mental disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
1. Anxiety disorder: Anxiety disorder is a term used for various psychiatric disorder
characterized by excessive and abnormal fear, worry, apprehension and anxiety.
2. Mood disorders: Mood disorders is the term used for a person's
mental state characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood. Bipolar disorder and
Major depressive disorder are recognized categories of mood disorders.
3. Cognitive Disorders: Cognitive Disorders involves trouble with memory, perception, and
problem solving. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM-IV-TR) describes it as disorders with “a significant impairment of
cognition or memory that represents a marked deterioration from a previous level of function”.
4. Psychotic Disorders: Psychotic Disorders is a mental state that involves a loss of contact
with reality. Schizophrenia, the condition in which the patient is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not, is one of
the most well-known disorders in this category.
5. Dissociative disorder: Dissociative disorder are
primarily caused due to psychological trauma, a person diagnosed with
dissociative disorders has trouble recalling past and can exhibit more than one distinct personality.
6 Samatoform disorder: In samatoform disorder mimic symptoms of real
diseases without actually showing any physical signs of illness. Somatoform disorders is different from factitious disorders as people
suffering from it do not exhibit fake symptoms.