Psychiatric symptoms are common in general population in both sides of the globe. These symptoms – worry, tiredness, and sleepless nights affect more than half of the adults at some time, while as many as one person in seven experiences some form of diagnosable neurotic disorder.
Burden of Disease
The World Bank report (1993) revealed that the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) loss due to neuro–psychiatric disorder is much higher than diarrhea, malaria, worm infestations and tuberculosis if taken individually. According to the estimates DALYs loss due to mental disorders are expected to represent 15% of the global burden of diseases by 2020.
During the last two decades, many epidemiological studies have been conducted in India, which show that the prevalence of major psychiatric disorder is about the same all over the world. The prevalence reported from these studies range from the population of 18 to 207 per 1000 with the median 65.4 per 1000 and at any given time, about 2–3% of the population, suffer from seriously, incapacitating mental disorders or epilepsy. Most of these patients live in rural areas remote from any modern mental health facilities. A large number of adult patients (10.4–53%) coming to the general OPD are diagnosed mentally ill. However, these patients are usually missed because either medical officer or general practitioner at the primary health care unit does not asked detailed mental health history. Due to the under–diagnosis of these patients, unnecessary investigations and treatments are offered which heavily cost to the health providers.
The Government of India has launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982, keeping in view the heavy burden of mental illness in the community, and the absolute inadequacy of mental health care infrastructure in the country to deal with it.
- Prevention and treatment of mental and neurological disorders and their associated disabilities.
- Use of mental health technology to improve general health services.
- Application of mental health principles in total national development to improve quality of life.
- To ensure availability and accessibility of minimum mental health care for all in the forseeable future, particularly to the most vulnerable and underprivileged sections of population.
- To encourage application of mental health knowledge in general health care and in social development.
- To promote community participation in the mental health services development and to stimulate efforts towards self–help in the community.
- Integration mental health with primary health care through the NMHP.
- Provision of tertiary care insitutions for treatment of mental disorders.
- Eradicating stigmatization of mentally ill patients and protecting their rights through regulatory institutions like the Central Mental Health Authority, and State Mental health Authority.