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The Economic Benefits of Addressing Mental Health Issues

Ever feel tired without doing anything and even after a full night’s sleep? That occasional low battery feeling, the struggle to focus. The irritability that flares up out of nowhere? We’ve all been there. But what if these aren’t just temporary blips but signs of something deeper? Let’s delve into mental health, exploring the widespread epidemic of mental disorders and depression. And the signs that it might be time to prioritise your well-being.

The Global Mental Health Epidemic

Mental well being is not just a personal struggles; they are a global epidemic. In India alone, 1 in every 8 people suffers from some mental health issue. These statistics highlight a growing need to address mental health on a national and global scale.

Mental Health and the Economy

Mental wellness is crucial for a healthy economy. Individuals with mental illnesses face immense personal distress. Thus impacting their relationships, education, and work. This leads to high absenteeism, reduced productivity, and economic losses. The mental health burden is estimated to cause an economic loss of $2-3 billion for India and $1 trillion for the world by 2030.

Barriers to Mental Health Care

Despite the growing need, mental health often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Several factors contribute to this:

Awareness: Many people are unaware of the symptoms of mental illnesses and do not realise they require assistance.

Stigma: Those aware of their mental health issues often fear discrimination and stigma, preventing them from seeking help.

Insufficient Mental Healthcare: Even those who seek help face limited access to quality mental health practitioners. India has only 0.75 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people, far below the global average of 13 per 100,000. This results in long waiting times and a treatment gap of 80.4%.

Government Initiatives

Recognizing the need to enhance mental healthcare, the Indian government has implemented several policies:

National Mental Health Policy (NMHPolicy) 2014: This policy focuses on offering comprehensive care, from outpatient to community-based programs, and integrating mental health into general healthcare.

Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA) 2017: This act aims to protect the rights of people with mental illness and ensure they receive proper treatment.

National Suicide Prevention Strategy: Launched in 2022, this strategy aims to reduce suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.

National Tele Mental Health Programme (NTMHP): Introduced in 2022-23, this program received a budget allocation of ₹120.98 crore to provide tele-mental health services.

The Role of the Private Sector

The government’s efforts alone are not sufficient to address concerns related to mental illness. Active participation by community leaders and the private sector is essential. Many companies are focusing on the mental well being of their employees by introducing hybrid and remote working. Along with counselling sessions, and access to mental healthcare solutions. Corporates are partnering with mental health companies like Sukoon, MindPeers, and Amaha to increase awareness and provide needed help.

Business Opportunities in Mental Healthcare Industry

The growing demand for mental healthcare services presents significant business opportunities. The Indian mental healthcare industry is a $3 billion opportunity, divided into three segments:

Content, AI, and Self-Help Platforms: Apps like Wysa and Calm provide personalised mental wellness guidance and self-management tools.

Peer and Group Led Support: Startups like Manah Wellness and NGOs like Dilaasa offer group counselling and support for individuals and families.

Therapist and Expert Led Services: Companies like Trijog and YourDOST provide online and offline mental care consultations.

The Future of Mental Healthcare

The global mental healthcare market is estimated to grow to $540 billion by 2030. The growing awareness about it and the willingness of people to access digital health care solutions. This has attracted investors and corporates to the industry. With the combined efforts of the government and private sector, India can become a pioneer in the fight against mental illness issues.

The hidden struggle of these health issues is a significant concern that affects individuals and the economy. Recognising the signs of mental illness problems and seeking help early can prevent long-term disabilities and economic losses. By raising awareness, reducing stigma, and improving access to quality mental well being care. Thus we can create a healthier and more productive society.

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