India’s Headache on Mental Health

Even though depression is estimated to be the leading cause of disability worldwide and schizophrenia is estimated to affect 33 million people in developing countries, mental illnesses are still not acknowledged as major diseases in many developing countries. Since these diseases often cause long term disability rather than death and often have an early age of onset, studies focusing on prevalence or mortality rates largely underestimate the devastating effects. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated in 2001 that brain disorders are responsible for at least 27 percent of all ‘years lived with disability’ in developing countries.  When combining both death and disability from brain disorders it comprise nearly 15 percent of the developing countries burden of disease

In many developing communities diagnoses of mental disorders have no conceptual equivalent, and where they do the illnesses are stereotyped in pejorative language (‘imbecile’, ‘idiot’, ‘stupid’ and ‘mentally-invalid person’, is used to refer to the mentally challenged). Continue reading