Massive rise in mental health awareness in India: Practo

While mental health has often remained a widely ignored topic and a taboo in the Indian society, a new report shows over 80 percent rise in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues, especially in tier-2 cities.

According to domestic digital healthcare platform Practo’s annual healthcare map, there has been 82 percent increase in the appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists in tier-2 cities — Indore, Kanpur, Nagpur, Jaipur, Vishakapatnam, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, and Patna.

People in these cities sought help mostly for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marriage counseling, stress, de-addiction and anger management among others.

“It is a common belief that mental issues are mainly arising in metro cities owing to the stressful lifestyles. However, the non-metro cities are also in immediate need for access to mental healthcare,” Aparna Mahesh, a psychotherapist at Practo, told IANS.

“The sharp increase in the number of physical appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists in these towns and cities clearly indicates that Indians beyond metros are seeking timely help to address their concerns rather than ignoring or self-medicating,” Mahesh added.

In tier-1 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad — a 24 percent increase was seen in the appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states that 7.5 percent of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental concern or disorder.

“This indicates that unhealthy lifestyle habits, long working hours and work-life imbalance are taking a toll on people and their mental health,” the Practo report said.

Further, it was found that Indians visited their doctors 3.2 times a year in 2018, up from 2.7 times in 2017. Gynecology, dermatology, and pediatrics emerged as the top three specialties where most visits occurred.

This is, however, lower than Japan where patients visited doctors 13 times or the US where visits to doctors were a little over four times in 2018.

The healthcare map, which highlights key consumer healthcare trends, concerns, and behavior, has been compiled from thousands of searches and appointments, by over 13 crore patients, across more than 50 cities and over 250 specialties, in 2018.

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