Even today, the importance of mental health continues to be underestimated amongst huge chunks of the population. However, a recent report by Blue Cross Blue Shield has declared it a "health shock" for millennials. The results show a striking similarity to the impact that the Vietnam War, recreational drugs, or the AIDS epidemic had on older generations.
Key Findings In The Decline Of Mental Health
Health shocks, according to the WHO, are "unpredictable illnesses that diminish health status." Health shocks are usually judged by mortality rate, and mortality rate begins to rise in the USA in 2014 for the first time since 1969. The report indicates that millennials may see a 40% rise in mortality rate at 35 as compared to Gen X.
A huge fraction of these deaths is due to "deaths of despair" such as drug and alcohol overdose, and suicides. It's been noted that substance abuse is often an attempt towards self-medication, possibly due to inefficient or inaccessible mental healthcare.
Why India Should Be Concerned
While these reports use Americans as the subject sample, it doesn't detract from any concern that India should possess. India has the largest youth population in the world, and mental health issues do not discriminate by region. According to WHO reports, about 20% of our population will have some form of mental illness by 2020. At our current population, that's 27,32,83,550 people, to be catered to by around merely 4000 mental health professionals.
Around 31 farmers committed suicide every day in 2016, according to recent government data. Student suicide rates are so common that they hardly ever make top headlines anymore, but we hear of them frequently enough. Given the lack of awareness, understanding, and healthcare access in our country, especially in rural areas, our situation may well be much worse than the USA soon enough; except enough data will never exist (or be released in time) to confirm that.
Despite the growing evidence that it's more than time to focus on mental health prevention and treatment, there are no particular strategies or efforts being implemented into actually improving the situation. While upper-middle-class and upper-class populations are gradually gaining awareness, a huge part of our population exists below or just at the poverty line. Who shall look out for them, is the question that begs to be answered.