Health Min: Govt promotes mental health awareness, advocates against social stigma

New Delhi: The World Mental Health Day, 2019 was observed with the theme of ‘Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention’. It is observed on 10 October each year. The objective of the day is to mobilize efforts in support of mental health and to raise awareness about mental health issues and advocate against the social stigma that surrounds mental health. On this occasion, Central Government hospitals and institutions and the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) teams in the States conducted conferences/ workshops, various activities and awareness programmes with focus on suicide prevention.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare along with Health Ministers of various States/UTs released leaflets on suicide prevention in New Delhi on this day.

To generate awareness among masses about mental illnesses Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities are included as an integral part of the NMHP.  Funds up to Rs. 4 lakh per annum are provided to each District under the DMHP for IEC and awareness generation activities in the community, schools, colleges, workplaces, with community involvement. Under the DMHP, various IEC activities such as awareness messages in local newspapers and radio, street plays, wall paintings, and hoardings are also undertaken.

During 2018-19, the total budget allocation for Central Mental Health Institutions and NMHP was Rs. 599.76 cr, out of which a total of Rs. 545.65 cr has been spent.

As per the National Mental Health Survey, 2016, the prevalence of mental disorders in teenagers aged 13-17 years was 7.3% and nearly 9.8 million in this age group needed active interventions. To address the burden of mental disorders, the Government is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the country since 1982. The Government is supporting the implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 655 districts of the country for early detection, management and treatment of mental disorders/illnesses. With the objective to address the shortage of qualified mental health professionals in the country, the Government is implementing Manpower Development Schemes for establishment of Centres of Excellence and strengthening/ establishment of Post Graduate (PG) Departments in mental health specialties.

Till date, support has been provided for the establishment of 25 Centres of Excellence and strengthening/establishment of 47 Post Graduate (PG) Departments in mental health specialties in the country. Tertiary level mental healthcare facilities are provided through dedicated Mental Health Institutions as well as Medical Colleges run by Central and State Governments.

The Government has also enacted the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which aims at protection and promotion of the rights of persons with mental illness during the delivery of health care in institutions and in the community.

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

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The ID Staff

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