Mental health affects all areas of our lives, whether personal or professional and has a direct and profound impact on our physical well-being.
As per data collected in 2017, close to 198 million people in India suffered from mental disorders, with anxiety and depression being the two major contributors. However, this figure, even though quite significant, does not paint the entire picture, as mental health is still considered taboo, especially in rural parts of the country.
Multiple studies show that one in four patients visiting a health service provider in India has at least one mental, neurological, or behavioral disorder. But most of these go undiagnosed and untreated, largely owing to a lack of psychiatrists across states and hesitancy among patients. This further results in increased cases of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, burnout, and in extreme cases, even suicidal tendencies.
Similarly, a research survey done in October 2021 showed that women had the largest share of mental health illnesses in India at 39 percent, whereas the tally stood comparatively lower for men. And while the COVID-19 pandemic did highlight the need for a renewed outlook toward mental well-being, there is an urgent need to raise awareness, combat stigma, and enhance prevention.
To address the skill gaps in mental health treatment, ECHO India partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science (NIMHANS). NIMHANS is an apex body that conducts quality training and research on mental health conditions, including addictive disorders.
The ECHO-NIMHANS partnership, which began in 2014, is aimed at disseminating critical knowledge to medical professionals working in mental health care by:
Making credible knowledge accessible to everyone, anywhere, and anytime.
Utilizing case-based learning to share best practices in the medical community and build champions in the space of addiction management. Cover a wide range of complex topics such as alcohol & tobacco addiction, advanced addiction management, and more.
Talking about the ECHO-NIMHANS training, Dr. Sandhya Thumsi, a de-addiction counselor, who returned from Singapore to resume working in India, said that she was impressed by the program’s content quality and ECHO’s use of technology. “If not for the training, I would not have been able to reach out to and help as many patients as I did.”
Dr. Sandhya Thumsi, MBBS (ECHO-NIMHANS Training Participant)
ECHO India’s continued collaborations with NIMHANS are improving access to knowledge and best practices for medical professionals working in the mental health care space. So far, 4 hubs have been established, over 190 sessions have been conducted through 20+ programs, and 5,800+ participants have been mentored - contributing immensely to our overarching goal of touching the lives of 400 million Indians by 2025.
NIMHANS Bengaluru is currently offering mental health services to people experiencing anxiety, stress, or emotional distress, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A team of professional psychologists and psychiatrists is available around the clock. To seek assistance, call 080-46110007 or visit https://nimhans.ac.in/pssmhs-helpline/
To know more about ECHO India’s initiatives held in collaboration with NIMHANS and other healthcare partners, visit: https://www.echoindia.in/healthcare