Giving Compass’ Take:
• The barriers toward positive mental health and well-being in India are structural and systemic, contributing to why individuals can’t get meaningful quality healthcare.
• Where can donor investment help address these structural barriers to mental healthcare?
• Read more on why mental health in India is underserved and underfunded.
When I think of well-being, I don’t think of it as something that is purely psychological or for that matter, individual. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” I would like to add another layer to this definition—that of community, and the role of socio-political-economic factors.
An individual’s well-being cannot exist in a vacuum. It is tied to the systemic and structural bodies that we interact with, be it at the level of government, policy, law, police, education, or economy. If we look at well-being from an individualised perspective, or as something that an individual should strive for, we ignore these structural aspects of it.
Apart from structural issues, there are other major factors that make seeking mental healthcare and investing in your well-being inaccessible for people from marginalised communities.
- High financial costs
The first resource that people talk about when they talk of mental health and well-being is therapy and an average session in India with a therapist costs INR 800-1,500. That price itself makes it inaccessible to a larger population.
- A lack of language diversity and regional knowledge
The language we use to talk about mental health and well-being is very western. We don’t have a clear idea of what mental health looks like in a local, Indian context.
- Weak policies and low budget allocations
Though the Budget 2020 saw a seven percent increase for healthcare, the government has not increased allocations for the National Mental Health Programme. The budget for mental health in India is just 0.05 percent of the total healthcare budget.
Read the full article about barriers toward mental health and well-being by Divya Kandukuri at India Development Review.
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