The National Institute of Mental Illness defines mental illness is a condition that impacts a person’s thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. According to the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental disorders are generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, some combinations of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behavior and relationship with others.

Different types of Mental illnesses:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar affective disorder
  • Dementia
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Developmental Disorders like Autism

Mental illnesses are commonly prevalent in children, females, elderly, disaster survivors, industrial workers, adolescents and those people who are having chronic medical conditions.

Compared to men, women are more prone to mental disorders due to factors such as gender discrimination, early marriage, domestic violence, and rapid social change.

According to CDC, depression is the most common mental disorder affecting more than 26 % of the U.S adult population. It has been estimated that by 2020, depression will be the second leading disability worldwide. A study conducted by the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health in 2005 reported that nearly 5% of India’s population suffers from common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. As per the review of epidemiological studies conducted in 2000, the prevalence of mental disorders in India was 70.5 per 1000 in rural and 73 per 1000 in urban population.

Common reasons for mental illnesses:

1) Deprivation and poverty

2) Illiteracy or limited education

3) Low household income

4) Lifetime disorders such as panic, phobia, generalized anxiety disorder

5) Alcohol dependence

6) Drug Abuse

Common symptoms include:

1) Confused thinking

2) Prolonged depression

3) Feeling of extreme highs and lows

4) Changes in sleeping and eating habits

5) Suicidal tendency

6) Intense fear

The prevalence of mental disorders in different groups are:

  • 0-3 yr old children-13.8 %
  • 4-16 yr old children-12 %
  • Industrial workers-14-37 %

Mental health problems are categorized into the following classes:

1) Major mental disorders: Easy to recognize and treat in mental hospitals.

2) Minor mental disorders: Are common in community

3) Invisible mental disorders: Not easy to recognize and treat as it is related to the behavior of an individual.

However, the prevalence of metal disorders in India is less when compared to the Western countries because of genetic reasons, life-style, cultural factors and good family support.


According to Mental Health America, there is no specific treatment that happy wheels demo works for a particular individual. The treatments may differ from person to person. The various modes of treatment include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Hospitalization
  • Peer support
  • Support group

The risk of mental illness can be reduced by following simple steps:

  • Taking a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Avoid stress
  • Discuss your problems with others.
  • Avoid taking alcohol and drugs
  • Take enough rest
  • Spread awareness among people to initiate the early treatment.


In 1982, the government of India launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) to improve the status of mental health in India. In 1996, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India formulated the District Mental Health Programme.

District Mental Health Programme ventures to bring mental health care to the disadvantaged sections and rural areas of the society.

Objectives of District Mental Health Programme

  • To provide mental health services to the community and also integrate these services with other services.
  • Early detection and treatment of the patients suffering from mental illness within in the community itself.
  • Providing services such as hospitals and nursing homes in cities by avoiding people to go long distance for the treatment.
  • To treat and rehabilitate the patients discharged from the mental hospital within the community itself.
  • To Increase awareness about the mental health among the people.

Currently, the District Mental Health Programme has been implemented in 123 districts in our country.


Non-government organizations (NGO’s) are playing a key role in the treatment of mental illness.

NGO’s are identifying people with disabilities by the following ways:

  • Keeping hospital or institution based clinics
  • Keeping specialized educational and rehabilitation centers in different parts of the country.
  • Conducting camps.

Various NGO’s that are rendering their services are for Mental illnesses in India are14:

  • Sangath Society (Goa) and Umeed and the Research Society (Mumbai)-Provide outpatient and school based services.
  • Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) in Chennai, Manas in West Bengal, the Medico-Pastoral Association (MPA) in Bangalore, and Shristi in Madurai-Mostly focus on severe mental disorders.


  • Support NGO’s.
  • Establish more rehabilitation centers.
  • Avoid discrimination on the people who suffer from mental illness.
  • Conduct rallies to educate the people about mental illness.

Eg: Walkathon, an awareness programme to generate awareness among the general population

  • Upgrade the existing mental hospitals
  • Motivate the people on mental health
  • Organize campaigns on mental health

Every year, 10th October is observed as The World Mental Health Day.

– Modadugu Sahithi


  • Chinmaya

    Nice write up.

    June 3, 2016 - 4:59 pm/ Reply
  • Dr. Sharada devi

    Good. Some thoughts about prophylaxis would increase the value of the article.

    January 18, 2017 - 11:49 pm/ Reply
  • sumathra

    Give research tool for mental health

    February 3, 2017 - 4:40 pm/ Reply

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