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Navigating mental health in india: moving from awareness to action.

Synopsis; "The Mental Healthcare Act in India makes insurance companies important for mental well-being when truly followed. They play a key role in supporting mental health."

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Apco Medicare

5 min read

93 days ago

Navigating mental health in india: moving from awareness to action.

Over the past decade, India has made progress in mental health awareness, but challenges persist in terms of treatment accessibility and affordability. While awareness and destigmatisation efforts have been vital, they alone don't fully address the issue. A more comprehensive mental health insurance coverage system could bridge the gap, particularly given the massive scale of mental illness in the country, affecting approximately 200 million Indians.

Seven years ago, LoveLaughlive (LLL) embarked on a mission to address various aspects of India's mental health system. The Mental Healthcare Act (MHC Act) of 2017 played a crucial role by prioritizing mental health through a rights-based approach. This act recognized mental illness as a condition affecting thinking, perception, behavior, and emotions. It aimed to provide access to mental healthcare, treatment, and support without discrimination, establishing Mental Health Review Boards and decriminalizing suicide.

Navigating mental health in india: moving from awareness to action.

Despite the MHC Act's positive steps, challenges persist. In 2022, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) mandated insurance providers to cover mental illnesses, but the desired impact is yet to materialize. Claims related to mental illness face obstacles, with some insurers rejecting them outright. An analysis revealed that many insurance policies excluded coverage for suicide, self-injury, substance abuse disorders, and addiction, exacerbating the difficulties faced by those with mental health conditions.

The key challenge lies in raising awareness and understanding within the insurance industry about mental health and operationalizing models to handle claims for mental conditions. While insurers express willingness to learn and implement changes, the lack of awareness remains a significant hurdle.

Insurers need to comprehend the MHC Act's recommendations, emphasizing equal treatment for physical and mental illnesses. In FY19-20, claims paid for mental healthcare were a mere Rs37 crore compared to the total claims of Rs32,838 crore, highlighting the discrepancy between the need and the current coverage.

Addressing mental health coverage goes beyond fulfilling a human right; it also benefits insurance companies by enhancing their credibility and goodwill. Bridging the treatment gap through better coverage could position insurers as crucial stakeholders in the mental health ecosystem. An inclusive claims process for mental health treatment would reduce litigation, benefitting both insurers and those seeking support.

Suicides and attempted suicides must be included in coverage, especially considering India's high suicide rates. It is essential to shift the narrative from blaming individuals for mental health conditions to acknowledging the environmental factors at play.

Despite the challenges, there is hope. More people are reaching out for help, demonstrating a positive shift. However, the responsibility for mental health is collective, requiring immediate intervention. Collaborative efforts among stakeholders at the policy level are underway, and there's optimism that this approach will contribute to meaningful change in mental healthcare delivery and support systems.

Now, let's delve deeper into the various aspects of mental health highlighted in the original text, expanding on keywords such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, mental health quotes, my mental health, anxiety attack, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

1. Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by distorted thinking, hallucinations, and altered perceptions of reality. In the context of India's mental health landscape, addressing schizophrenia requires a comprehensive approach that includes awareness, destigmatisation, and, crucially, improved insurance coverage to ensure individuals receive necessary treatment and support.

2. Depression:

Depression, a prevalent mental health condition, often goes unnoticed due to stigma and lack of awareness. Initiatives like LiveLoveLaugh play a vital role in raising awareness and advocating for better mental health coverage. Insurance providers need to recognize the impact of depression, ensuring coverage that supports individuals in their journey towards recovery.

3. Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder involves extreme mood swings, affecting a person's energy, activity levels, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The Mental Healthcare Act's emphasis on equal treatment is particularly crucial for conditions like bipolar disorder