Adolescents Key to Addressing Mental Health Issues
Mental Health Disorders start, for most people, during their childhood or adolescence – mostly during the mid-teenage years. The fact this is backed by the Lancet study that in every one in seven Indians is suffering from a mental disorder is quite worrying in 2017. This shows that one in seven Indians are already affected by the onset of a mental disorder or are already going through it.
India has been going through this crisis for a long time now, going unnoticed. Adolescents are from 10-19 years of age, have always been overlooked by society and policymakers as this age group is seen by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of India as a group of individuals who are at their peak in terms of health and are very less affected by chronic diseases.
Due to this, they have been cast aside while turning their attention to more vulnerable age groups. However, research says otherwise. The Lancet study in 2017 also showed that anxiety disorders are more prevalent among the adolescent group than in any other.
It also showed that this age group gets affected by bipolar disorders and eating disorders more than the other age groups. Young adolescent women are affected more than usual.
Policies Involved for Adolescent Mental Health
Even though there were so many studies and researches showing us about the prevalent mental health problem amongst adolescents, there weren’t many reforms brought into this field. This is due to the social stigma surrounding it.
This social stigma hasn’t allowed the affected to seek help as they would be judged by society. Also, it has affected so much that the Government doesn’t feel it’s important to fund medical institutions to take care of this problem.
Although there are many problems regarding this issue, there has been a growing social awareness about mental awareness in society. This has led to the Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) 2017 is formed.
Under this, mental health disorders is a justiciable right, it decriminalizes the act of attempted suicide and urges the state and central government to improve the mental health treatments. In the case of Adolescent Mental Health, the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) 2014 includes components to improve mental health, meaning there is a chance of improvements in adolescent mental health standards.
Lack of Allocated Budget
Even though mental health is now recognized as a major issue the lack of budget to solve this issue makes you think otherwise. In the budget, it is always about 0.05% of the healthcare funds allocated to mental health reform. And out of this only 10% has been used. This shows that the current expenditure in the field of mental health is really tardy.
The Institute for Competitiveness with Population Foundation in India shows that there is a growing need for development in the mental health sector. It has shown that mental health needs a minimum of 2745 crores per year to treat mental health problems. 1355 crores on mental health development resources and the rest for the treatment.
In the Near Future
In the light of the covid-19 pandemic, there hasn’t just been deterioration in the field of economic development but also a severe problem in mental health problems amongst the adolescents. Studies have shown that pandemics are always associated with not only the retardation of economic development but also mental health. The pandemic showed increases cases of insomnia, anxiety, stress, etc.
Since it’s the adolescents now who will be going into the field of economic development of the country in the future, we as individuals, as a country should look into the problem of mental health problems. As we all know that mental health disorders are associated with a lack of productivity we need to increase it by making sure we do not neglect their mental health.