Alarming rise in people seeking mental health treatment in Odisha

Study says patients visiting AIIMS-Bhubaneswar are mostly youths, adolescents and students

Published: 28th October 2022 06:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2022 06:30 AM   |  A+A-

Depression, Stress, Mental Health

(Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: In what could be termed a wake up call for Odisha, there has been an alarming rise in cases of mental health disorders in the State. Apart from rise in suicidal deaths, disorders like anxiety, depression and substance use have increased since the Covid-19 pandemic.  

AIIMS-Bhubaneswar has recorded almost double the number of cases in the last two years. Head of the Department of Psychiatry Dr BR Mishra said the number of people visiting the OPD for mental health consultation has soared to 120 a day now from 60 to 65 in 2019. The premier hospital has treated more than 20,000 cases in the last two years.

As per a recent study on patients visiting the hospital, mostly youths, adolescents and students are victims of mental disorders. “Although middle-aged patients are more in terms of absolute numbers, the prevalence is high in the age group of 15 to 30 years. Family disputes, relationship issues, job, marital discord and substance use are the reasons behind the rise in the post-pandemic era,” Dr Mishra said.

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed suicide rate has also increased during the period and it is above the national average of 12 (number of people committing suicide in one lakh population). As many as 5,651 people people took their own lives in 2021 in Odisha against 5,546 in 2020 and 4,582 in 2019. While the suicide cases in the State rose by around 24 per cent in two years, the suicide rate increased from 10.5 per cent in 2019 to 12.5 per cent in 2021.

Odisha topped the list of states with highest number of suicides due to family problems. Of the 5,651 suicidal deaths in 2021, suicides due to family issues accounted for 71.4 per cent (4,033) last year.  
Apart from hospitals, people approaching private organisations for mental health issues has also seen an uptick in the recent times. Mental health experts believe reporting of severe mental disorders like schizophrenia is still low due to stigma attached to it. However, despite the rise in reporting of other disorders, the treatment gap still remains huge in the State.

“People tend to take extreme steps following the failure of coping resources when the situation is overwhelming. They find suicide as a method to escape. Family has an important role to play to identify the behavioral changes. Sensitisation is a must and people suffering from mental illness should be encouraged to seek help from professionals keeping aside the stigma,” Dr Mishra added.  

Mental worry

  • Suicides, anxiety, depression and substance use have gone up in State 
  • People visiting AIIMS, Bhubaneswar OPD for mental health consultation has soared to 120 daily 
  • Suicide cases rose by around 24 pc in two years

5,651 people took their own lives in 2021 in Odisha 


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