Mental Sickness In Children In India : An Overview

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WHO (2000) stated that 20% of children and adolescents suffer from a disabling mental illness worldwide  and suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents.

Mental illnesses are seen as a stigma

Mental illnesses are seen as a stigma image via

Research from the Indian Council of Medical Research reported that 12% children between 4 to 16 years suffered from psychiatric disorders  in India. Similar studies from around the globe supported the fact that around 15% children suffer from significant mental health problems, affecting their social and physical functioning. Global studies show (Published in June 2011 of The Lancet) that one in every two adolescents globally suffers from neuro-psychiatric disorders. It further added that, one in five adolescents has an emotional, learning or development disorder while one in every eight has a serious mental disorder.

The issue of childhood psychiatric cases is more serious in middle and low income countries because these countries have a much larger proportion of child and adolescent population; much lower levels of health indices; poorer infrastructure and resources to deal with problems. Additionally, it is sometimes a cultural issue, with many people finding these difficult to understand and hiding them as a taboo.

Some Facts Pertaining To Mental Illness In Children 

  • Most common causes of disorders especially in adolescents could be depression, alcohol abuse, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders
  • Other studies show close to 20 % Indian children suffer from some form of mental disorder, of which about 2-5 % are serious disorders including cases like autism, Schizophrenia etc.- which could also be at different levels.
  • Irritability, sleeping and eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders that seem insignificant to most, if ignored, could also later manifest as more serious concerns.
  • WHO has estimated that by 2020, mental depression will be the largest cause of disability worldwide. By 2025, mental illness will catch up with heart disease or may even overtake it as the biggest global health concern.
The questions we have currently are plenty. Only 1 in 50 people with mental health problems have access to treatment in developing countries (and 1 in 3 in wealthy nations). India is awfully short of psychiatrists with just 4,000 present all over the country. District mental health programmes are placed in only 123 of 640 districts, with total coverage anticipated only by 2017. Scaling up medical efforts in this field is going to be a big challenge. The gap is currently often covered by fake doctors, and quacks who claim the know the ‘quick fixes’ or connect medical illnesses to unscientific causes including ‘ghosts and spirits’.
Additionally, even educated middle class in India under reports cases of mental illness which are seen as a taboo.  Improper diets, stress, deficiency, health problems, abuse seem to be ever increasing with changing lifestyles and these are some of the causes which can lead to potential mental health problems.
mental disorders are not adjectives

mental disorders are not adjectives, image via

The first step starts with us. We believe it starts with empathy and understanding of issues and forming trust groups to share concerns like these and not ignoring the symptoms or people who need our care! Using mental disorders as adjectives only loses the meaning of the illness and people who suffer.
DISCLAIMER – All the above facts are shared by MIEF with the hope of creating awareness. MIEF holds no copyright on this material. The sources used are mentioned below and are trusted.
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