President Pranab Mukherjee today said traditional Indian values and Yoga can become good mechanisms to support people suffering from mental health disorders and noted that social stigma attached to such conditions remains a “major” problem in India.
On World Health Day, which focuses on depression this year, Mukherjee said that this condition is the most common form of mental health disorders and asked medical fraternity to focus on traditional support systems, social support systems and spiritual beliefs and practices in providing wellbeing to all.
He appealed to health professionals to “think globally and act locally” and come together to meet the challenges of depression as 5.2 per cent of the adult population in India suffer from depression in some form.
He said the entire world made a commitment in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which mental health and wellbeing figure prominently. Noting that with the SDGs, countries (including India) have committed to achieve quantified targets by 2030, the President said looking at the scale of the problems and the limited time available, the task is “challenging”.
Observing that lack of mental wellbeing contributes significantly to the total disability and morbidity burden across the world, he said productivity of human beings, whether in workforce or in the family situation, gets reduced if one has any mental disorder.
He said there is a severe shortage of mental health professionals in India and the gap can be bridged effectively by telemedicine. With the introduction of new norms for implementation of telemedicine for the army, accessibility to quality healthcare, especially in hilly areas of the North East will be provided.
Mukherjee expressed happiness that the organizers of the summit had planned strategic follow up conferences in different cities of the world to create broad framework for collective action. “I appeal to all of you to think globally and act locally. I also urge all the health stakeholders to come together in meeting the challenges of depression,” he said.