Mumbai: Nearly 44% of women in Maharashtra aged 30 years or more suffer from mental health issues. As per the state health department data, 1.56 crore women have been screened in the past two months for various non-communicable diseases and close to 69,40,299 women above the age of 30 sought treatment for mental health issues and sought counselling. All these women were screened under the ‘Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshit’ initiative which started on September 26.
A senior health officer from the Public Health Department said they have been counselling patients and asking them to visit the mental outpatient departments for assistance regarding mental health issues that include substance abuse, domestic violence and stress. Depending on their condition, they would be given further advice on therapies or medications.
He said, “We usually approach women who visit our OPD, identifying if they require counselling. Many are hesitant due to the stigma attached to it, but they open up upon insisting.”
Dr Harish Shetty, a city-based psychiatrist, said, “Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the real mental health issues have come to the fore. Rather than just focusing on the urban population, there is a need to focus in rural areas as well,” Dr Shetty said.
Officials said that due to a lack of knowledge, residents of rural Maharashtra fail to identify issues like anxiety, depression and personality disorders, among others. They often go to primary health clinics with complaints of insomnia, breathlessness, heavy sweating in palms and neck and acid reflux, which are common symptoms of mental health problems.
“While there is a shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists, we cannot pinpoint the deficit. There is no exact data on the number of counselors we have for mental healthcare as no registration is required for it,” said an officer.
Affected women aged 30 years or more
1.56 crore women screened under ‘Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshit’
Initiative started on Sep 26
Survey lasted two months
69,40,299 women sought treatment for mental health issues and sought counselling
Anxiety, depression and personality disorders
Insomnia, breathlessness, heavy sweating in palms and neck and acid reflux
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