Mental Health is being long-neglected due to the social stigma and unawareness of mental health conditions and its treatment. People even now, continue to have a pessimistic outlook who showcase unsound behavior and mental instability, including depression. The society itself can’t differentiate between a depressed person and a mentally retarded one who is incapable of taking cognitive decisions, thereby get mislead in selecting the vulnerable one who requires a serious medical diagnosis.
This issue can be seen by the fact that India only spends less than 2% budget on mental health and has only 43 government-funded mental health hospitals for its 70 million-plus mentally ill people. For every 1 million people, there are just 3 psychiatrists and even fewer psychologists. Adding to it, there are more than 10 million cases of intellectual disabilities per year in India who require a dedicated medical diagnosis. The most frightening thing in this context is that here treatment can help but the condition can’t be cured or is hard to achieve full recovery, manifesting jeopardy to the intellectual Indian society.
The myopic vision of people is confined to the view that ‘if you are depressed or mentally broken down, go to a psychiatrist’, ‘if you have lost your mental stability, admit yourself to a mental asylum!’ Is this as convincing as it sounds?. The entire family has to undergo a huge level of stress, pain, restrictions, and laws before approaching mental help for the individual. On top of it the constant mocking, judging, and discrimination by society makes it even harder.
In order to have agreeableness before going to a mental health center, as per the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, every person, including one with mental illness shall be deemed to have the capacity to make decisions regarding his mental health treatment. It gives them the right to live in, be part of it and not be segregated from society; and refuse staying in a mental health organization. But this step has caused misery in many people’s life. On the basis of the recovery rate as said earlier, the illness can be treated but full recovery out of the unsound behavior is not something that can be seen often.
The mental health or rehab centers take the people into its care only for a short duration of 3 months, after which the person is let out to live in open, with the society. According to the law, the duration can be extended only in extreme cases when the person is declared as calamitous. The twirl in the tale comes when few people in the asylum do expose out their real-self, making their diagnosis and treatment easier while the rest unsound people tend to hide their ill actions and tendency towards oneself and others. This set of inauthentic people construct the menacing thin line where on one hand they act as a normal person around others and on another, chose to bring out their madness in front of a certain group of people especially their families, living in their own hallucinations.
These types of people are really hard to diagnose and a span of 3 months is not sufficient to cure them, hence need constant revisit and diagnosis till the time of having a satisfactory recovery that the law fails to provide. Adding to the loopholes of the law, according to the Indian Judiciary System, crime done by an unsound person can’t be registered under criminal offense and no such law would be charged against them. This manifests a lot of murders and crime against the people around them, that goes unnoticed and unconsidered by the law. Hence, the people close or around them live in a fear of relapses or unforeseen threats to their life, It’s like a blade constantly hanging around their throat. A motive to inspire and guide these vulnerable set of people, treat them and ensure their recovery should be a prime objective of the health institutions, government, and NGOs where they should work on the above loopholes. But balancing the fragile group of people and constructing an understandable mature society is a two-way process where educating oneself, taking initiatives from one’s end to support them, and helping them to recover is a vital step that we (society) should take up. The family and the close web of people surrounding them should start concerning and thinking about their sensitive mindset, not letting them feel left out and importantly love them. This is how the society including you and me could make it a better supportive place for disabled, vulnerable and needy ones. It’s a fine thin line but a sensitive one that we should walk towards it together.