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THE INDIAN SCENARIO OF MENTAL HEALTH

Dr. E.S. Krishnamoorthy , Behavioural Neurologist & Neuropsychiatrist, Founder of Buddhi Clinic in conversation with Dr. Sameer Parikh and Ms. Gayathri Prabhu.

Dr. E.S. Krishnamoorthy , Behavioural Neurologist & Neuropsychiatrist, Founder of Buddhi Clinic in conversation with Dr. Sameer Parikh and Ms. Gayathri Prabhu.

Dr. E.S. Krishnamoorthy, Behavioural Neurologist & Neuropsychiatrist, Founder of Buddhi Clinic in conversation with Dr. Sameer Parikh who trains doctors, psychologists, and other mental health specialists, and Ms. Gayathri Prabhu who teaches literary studies at Manipal University and is an author of a memoir, “If I Had To Tell It Again” and has written few other novels like Maya and The Untitled. Dr. Sameer is the author of two books, one for children and one for adults.

Mental health. A word that is highly neglected by Indian society. In India, experiencing mental health issues is seen with suspicion, and individuals suffering from mental illnesses face stigma. Mental problems are frequently thought to be the result of a lack of discipline and determination. Mental health stigma, as well as an absence of availability, affordability, and knowledge, contribute to major disparities in treatment. ‘There is a deficit of experts and I don’t think it will compensate for a long time because the deficit is too high’ said Dr. Sameer Parikh.  He also added how important it is to address mental health issues in the early stage and find preventive measures for them. While finding the solution to an issue, we should also make the effort to learn more about mental health and the doctors should take the initiative to impart the knowledge to the rest of the world. Another insightful thing mentioned by Dr. Sameer was that teachers and counsellors who work with adolescence will know what mental health issues they go through and how they can tackle them. ‘True change of mental health advances can only happen with the help of teachers and not purely by experts because we don’t have as many’ he added.

When Dr. Krishnamoorthy asked Ms. Gayathri Prabhu about how depression or any mental health issue of a person can affect their family member or the caretaker, she read a small part of her book where she wrote about her father’s illness. It reads, ‘Why? It is always the first question depression sparks. Where did this come from? Not asked from a diagnostic mood but in avoidance or curiosity or habit. If it is here, if it is in our mind, we need to ask what is to be done.

If mental health issues remain a stigma, then help-seeking behaviour will be prevented. If people don’t seek help, then there won’t be any change in the issues in society. ‘Help-seeking is not going to a doctor. Help-seeking is starting a conversation. Recognizing you have a problem and you need to find a solution’ informed Dr. Sameer. Ms. Gayathri said that stigma is her fear. It is an individual’s fear. When a person wants to seek help, they keep anticipating the reaction of society and this stops them from asking for help.

It is critical to remember that determining mental disease can only be done by establishing screening benchmarks. There is also an urgent need to dispel the myth that mental health is just the prevalence of mental health issues. Long-delayed debates and efforts to address the issue of access to mental health care are now making their intentions clear. Careful mapping and investigation are required to provide quality data, which is required to grasp the scope of the problem.

Dr. Krishnamoorthy has covered everything from adolescence depression to substance abuse in The Hindu Lit For Life (LFL) 2019.

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Oliver, whose musings speak for & to us is our Mascot. Inspired by his namesake the erudite neurologist & writer Late Professor Oliver Sacks, he shares periodically, pearls of wisdom about the brain and mind. Hailing from a long lineage that has been associated with health over millennia, Oliver traces his ancestry to Athena & Minerva the Greek & Roman goddesses of health, philosophy & magic. Not to be mistaken for his comic counterpart...

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