Five lakh people with mental illness across Maharashtra

Mumbai: Cases related to mental illness are increasing exponentially across the state. According to data provided by the Central Government’s Health Management Information System (HMIS), nearly 5.44 lakh patients in Maharashtra have been diagnosed with mental health problems in the last one-and-a-half years.

Experts said they see around 100 to 150 people at the psychiatric OPD every day. These people are facing one or the other kind of mental health problem. If the trend continues, they fear, India could likely become the capital of psychiatric disorders.

Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, a senior psychiatrist attached with Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) Hospital, said there are many reasons why mental health cases are increasing. Changing lifestyle with an excessive time being spent on mobile phones and people feeling alienated are the main reason behind the rise.

“Due to depression, farmers are committing suicide in Marathwada and Vidharbha. There is a shortage of psychiatrists in rural areas. The state government must take preventive measures. The figures are shocking. If we take into account the patients seeking treatment at private hospitals, the figure could be much higher,” he added.

In Mumbai, two lakh people in the 25-35 age group availed of psychiatric treatment during 2017-18. This translates into a 24 per cent rise in the number of cases requiring professional care in a year.

Dr Harish Shetty, a city-based psychiatrist, too said there is a need for more 24x7 helpline numbers. “If you go by the official records, over 65 per cent of suicides are committed by men who remain busy at work till late evening.

So, if they need any support, they would call at night. In a country where there are no rules and regulations to curb suicide cases, this is the least we can do.”

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