Mental Health

Is India facing Mental Wellness Crises ?

India has always been a spiritual nation. For the last 5000 years, we have believed that the source of our mental happiness and wellness is based on our spiritual way of life.

But the modern mechanical world has in a way disrupted that pattern and in the last 50 years, we have seen an increase in cases requiring mental wellness intervention. We also see an increase in cases where patients need counseling and therapy. While this is still an emerging trend it is believed that this year 2020, more than 20% of our po[ulation needs mental wellness interventions.

Covid19 has exposed the need for the same. It is believed that the number of people requiring treatment is almost 25% more than previously anticipated. Also, the infrastructure in terms of doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors is just not there. To discuss this and more Dr Sumeet Kad and I took up this issue in our third episode of India Health Talk. The link is below.

On the positive side, there is an increased awareness of the situation, also due to the rise of telemedicine, we would see an increase in the number of teleconsultations. However, the key is to increase awareness and not take your mental wellness for granted.

We would love to hear your feedback, as well.


The curious rise of mental illness in India

Rahul (name changed) was having a tough time at office. He had worked his way to the top of the finance industry in Mumbai India. He was now a Sr VP at a financial institution and looking forward to a great time steering the entry of a new financial institution in India. But somehow his work load was increasing. What started as a stretch project spanning a few weekends, had consumed him for months. Soon he started dreading the thought of going to office. Even at work his ability to cope with work was reducing, affecting his effectiveness. Soon he was in a cycle, where stress was eating away at his ability to get things done, which contributes to further delays and more stress. Soon panic attacks started hitting him in the office. He would sweat profusely and remain tense throughout the day.

Rahul was lucky that he recognised some of the symptoms and sought medical help. He reached out to a counsellor and started treatment immedicably. He also took a break from work and focused entirely on his wellbeing. Slowly over a period with counselling and medication, Rahul felt better as the incidents of panic attack and their severity started reducing. Before long he was back at a new job, this time with the knowledge that he would have to handle his work better and avoid triggers that might set off the attacks again.

Rahul’s case is not an isolated case. I remember when I joined the technology world, my first job was with this healthcare network. A middle level manager who was my mentor at that time used to warn me about not taking projects with pressure. He said it was just not worth it. Coming from the medical world, we know all about pressure and its physiology that helps us a humans trigger the flight or fight reflex.

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum in 2014 on the impact of non-communicable diseases on Indian economy it is projected that the loss due to lack of mental health would run into trillions.

“The evidence is compelling. India stands to lose $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, accounting for $2.17 trillion, and mental health conditions ($1.03 trillion), will lead the way in economic loss.”

So today we stand at the crossroads of healthcare highway, where mental well being is going to cost us more than Diabetes and Cancer put together by 2030. India it seems is one of the most depressed country in the world. We have close to 6.7 % of the population that is suffering from some mental illness. And just like Diabetes there is no specific urban/rural divide on this. So, the common feeling that people in the villages are not affecting by depression is not true. On the other hand, I feel they are worse off as there is limited awareness and facilities available in the rural areas. According to a WHO report done by National Care of Mental Health, suicide rates in India are around 10.7 per lakh of population and they are mostly below 44 years.

What should one do if you felt tings were not ok mentally?

Well for starters contact your physician immediately. Best not to self diagnose. I myself had consulted my physician after the death of my mother and visited a counsellor.

The secondly seek support from family and friends. I had taken my wife into confidence during that time. She had accompanied me to the session.

Finally, no matter how bad it may seem there is no justification for self-harm. If such thoughts to occur, best to take help from one of the many depression helplines. I have a list that I found at a website, not sure if this is current but still a good list to use.

In conclusion, mental health is a clear and present danger for us in India. Rising expectations and the collapse of work life balance has brought us to this situation. I still feel digital can help in specially providing immediate, anonymous counselling. Work is important but not at the cost of life. Do take care and keep smiling.

Healthcare Delivery

Dealing with depression in the digital world

A few days ago a young man committed suicide in India. The reason was a internet game called the “Blue Whale Challenge” that sends the players a set of 50 tasks as the end of which they are asked to commit suicide.

A very obnoxious way to structure a game, nut what struck me was that most of the players were young, loners and odd. They did not have social circles and very quiet. In other words they were displaying some form of sub-clinical or even clinical depression. It is not uncommon to read newspaper reports of students committing suicide during the exams. But while one can understand the affect, no one has really put light on the cause. Indians today are suffering from mental illness like never before.

According to WHO almost 90 million citizens in India suffer from either depression or anxiety disorders. That makes it almost 7.5% of the population. There is still a belief that conditions like depression and anxiety disorders are mostly western in origin. But that is not true. Ayurvedic doctors like Charaka have written in details on the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and have also given the cure.

In most cases anxiety attacks can be managed with some common sense. Easiest way is to breathe deeply and might provide feelings that are better in no time. Sometimes just walking out of situations or walking out of the door is the key step ti manage the anxiety attack. One out of 3 people has experienced a feeling of loneliness and depression, and a few of them can’t even say what’s which makes them feel this way.


The other key factor in the management of mental illnesses is that we need to increase social interactions. There are many ways to chase melancholy and the loneliness away, What matters is removing impulses making them feel low or sad. Feeling lonely could be as simple as not having anyone about them to socialize with on a daily basis. One feel lonely and still can be about people, and so to not feel this way, attempt to learn why.

Depression can happen to anyone, and causes it to be varied from one individual to another. Being lonely might lead to becoming depressed, but they don’t always go hand at hand. Feeling anxious and despondent occurs whenever we can’t deal with things in life at that moment, and we feel that there’s no hope to getting past that. They could begin to find ways to create they feel, when someone has identified a number of reasons why he or she are feeling the way they do. Among the ways people can manage the situation is by taking medication under consult with a physician or Psychiatrist to determine if it’s right, prior to taking any medication.

Using remedies may be an acceptable replacement to using medication. Going to a health shop can offer many excellent choices for currently taking a natural approach to your depressed mind-set. The individuals who work there may be extremely helpful in finding the legal remedies which will work best. Another excellent way of getting rid of the blues is to create an appointment with a few mental wellness specialist in your area. Occasionally talking things out with someone completely distanced from one’s life, can give a chance to work out some of what’s bothering an individual.

So to conclude, it is unwise to deal with depression alone. Always consult a physician or doctor if you feel symptoms of depression. Social Interactions help us manage the condition better. Always avoid stress, look for pleasant interactions to avoid the anxiety attacks. Health is a state of physical and mental well being. Live long and prosper.

(Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash)


Fighting depression with

Imagine you are a student studying in a remote campus with no access to quality healthcare close by. What is the best way to get quality medical care? This was the question that four young graduates from BITS Pilani were trying to answer during their education there.

The answer was: use Digital. So the four young men, incubated this idea and out of this was born ‘Get Visit’ that brings the doctors and patients together. Now you might be wondering that there are so many startups in this space and what would be so unique about this particular one? Well I was thinking similarly, having spoken to a few others in this space and I found some very unique differentiation.