In a revelation that many would find startling, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said that nearly 75,000 people commit suicide in India every year// for varied reasons, including mental disorder.
"Suicide in India is a major threat and nearly 75,000 people commit suicide every year. Poverty, debt, illiteracy and mental imbalance are the main reasons for this menace," Ramadoss said.
"Seven to eight percent of the Indian population is facing some sort of mental problem, of which over 1.5 percent (15 million) needs special care," the minister told IANS on the sidelines of a conference in the capital.
Portraying a grim picture of the little understood world of mental health, the minister said mental illness was the cause of about l00,000 people trying to commit suicide in the country each year.
"I do confess that the national mental health programme of my ministry is not performing well. I am worried and we are in the process of reviewing the programme.
"Besides, we are planning to provide basic mental health training to doctors at the primary healthcare centres as rural India is prone to such problems. Plans are afoot to train the MBBS doctors on this subject so that they can handle situations at the sub-division and district levels," he said.
He said the proposal would cover 400 districts in the next three years and all the districts of India within five years' time.
According to statistics available with the ministry of social justice and empowerment, there are over 900,000 females in India who need treatment for mental illness.
Of these nearly 280,000 fall in the age group 10-29 and nearly 250,000 in the age group 30-50.
Older men commit suicide more than younger men. However, more women who commit suicide were below 30 years or above 65 years of age.
Experts believe that mental health in India is far from getting due attention.
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