Experts suggest ways in which budget should be allocated for mental heath

Experts suggest ways in which the budget should be allocated for mental heath

Published: 31st January 2021 11:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st January 2021 11:50 AM   |  A+A-

mental health, depression

For representational purposes

Every  year, budget allocations towards mental health is decreasing being reduced even further. In 2010, the District Mental Health Programme’s budget was 0.44 per cent of the total budget allocated to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). In 2020, it is 0.06 per cent. Mental health experts say this time the government should prioritise allocation of budget for mental healthcare in the Union Budget 2021.

Vivek Sagar, Founder & CEO,

We expect the Union Budget 2021 to recognise the growing mental health problem in India and provide more budget across India including the government schools. In FY2019, the budget allocated for the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) was brought down to `40crore from `50 crore in FY18, while the actual funds spent were only `5 crore.

The budget for Mental Health in India should be increased to `5,000crore or at least five per cent of the India’s healthcare budget, as the approximate cost of implementing the mental healthcare Act is around `95,000crore, and the current budget is nowhere close to that assessed by Indian Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr Shweta Sharma, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram

At Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon, we have seen a rise of 70per cent cases of mental health, including depression, anxiety, and trauma since March 2020, with maximum cases packed within the complete lockdown period. With uncertainty about job and overall economy, we may expect the number of mental health cases to increase.

According to the WHO, about 7.5 per cent Indians suffer from some form of mental disorder, 56 million suffer from depression while 38 million have anxiety disorders. India accounts for 36.6 per cent of suicides. Mental health workforce in India is reeling under a huge shortage.

Dr Preeti Singh, Senior Consultant, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram

India has the highest suicide rate amongst youth as per a 2011 report by the Lancet Journal. An Indian has a nine per cent chance of developing depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to WHO. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India has just over 3,800 registered psychiatrists against the need of at least 13,500.

India requires 20,250 clinical psychologists, but has only about 900. There is also a scarcity of psychiatric social workers in the country. We desperately need more hospitals, trained personnel and insurance policies.

Sumit Mittal, Founder of VentAllOut

The need of the hour is the acknowledgement that mental illness has a significant socio-economic impact on the overall health of India, and until there is sufficient investment to promote awareness, education, and infrastructure, mental health issues will cause damage to the economy.

Therefore, Budget 2021 should increase the budget for health infrastructure and invest more in mental health programs. Virtual counselling can increase access to mental health facilities in places lacking trained professionals. The government should launch programs to promote naturopathy and yoga, dietary and lifestyle modifications.

India Matters


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