Let's talk about mental health: Only 10-15% patients seek medical help - Only about 10-15% of mental health patients seek medical treatment, a senior doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi, said on Saturday, while emphasising that the society needs to play a “pro-active” role in dealing with such cases with sensitivity.
“Majority of mental health patients don’t seek treatment, just about 10-15% do. That is mostly because of the stigma attached to it. And, sometimes, people don’t know how to react to situations when they see a person exhibiting beahviours that stem from ill mental health conditions,” Professor of Psychiatry at AIIMS, Dr Rajesh Sagar said.
He was addressing a press conference at the institute ahead of a public lecture on ‘Dignity and First-aid in Mental Health’.
“The World Mental Health Day falls on October 10. And, theme by the UN this year is — Dignity in Mental Health- Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All. We must understand that psychologically first aid is also needed just like in case of a physical injury,” he said.
Sagar emphasised that unlike physical disorders, mental health ailments need a lot of sensitivity, on part of family members and the society at large.
“Dealing with mental ailment cases is very challenging vis-a-vis physical disorders. What we need is a pro-active approach from society and not a reactive one. We need to respond when a persons begins to show suicidal behaviour and not react after he has committed it,” he said.
Suicide was the leading cause of death among youngsters aged 10-24 in the country in 2013, according to a study.
Sagar said, mental health and mental disorders must be differentiated.
“Merely having certain negative thoughts doesn’t mean a person is suffering from a disorder. A mental disorder would mean an organic disorder, which would include dementia, delirium among other symptoms, in which the brain MRI scans exhibit changes,” he said.
Sagar said while both men and women are susceptible to mental ailments, women seek less treatment, “more so because of stigma attached or lack of awareness.”