2017-18: Two lakh sought mental health assistance

Mumbai: Between 2017 and 2018, two lakh people in the city, most of them in the 25-35 age group, obtained psychiatric treatment, according to the Health Management Information System (HMIS). This translates to a 24 per cent rise in the number of cases requiring professional care in a year.

According to HMIS, which comes under the Union health ministry, in 2017, nearly 88,672 patients sought treatment for mental illness, visiting the outpatient departments (OPDs) at various hospitals and clinics in the city.

This number surged by around 24 per cent in 2018, with 1,10,257 people seeking help. This year, 75,000 cases have been registered until September.

Dr Avinash Desousa, director and founder trustee at Desousa Foundation said youth know that as for other ailments; they need treatment for mental illness also.

“If they do not seek help and ignore the situation, their mental condition is likely to further deteriorate. As more celebrities come forward with their stories, people have started accepting it is not shameful to suffer from mental illness,” he said.

Dr Ajit Dandekar, consultant psychiatrist, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, said more patients coming forward to seek help indicates better awareness, thanks to the media and the government.

“It indicates that the taboo around mental health and its treatment has decreased substantially. But, while increase in the number of patients in the 25-35 age group is welcoming, it indicates various triggers — such as the lack of a strong social support system in nuclear families, social media dependency, work-personal life imbalance and non-substance abuse of electronic gadgets such as mobiles and computers,” said Dr Dandekar.