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India sees 35 pc jump in mental illnesses during Covid: Govt

The Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic study was published in Lancet public health

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New Delhi: There has been an estimated increase of about 35 per cent in the prevalence of anxiety and depression in India during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday, citing an international study.

The Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic study was published in Lancet public health, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

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Rajya Sabha member Rupa Ganguly wanted to know whether a study made such claims about India. Describing the steps taken by the government, the Minister said the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) of the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) has been sanctioned for implementation in 704 districts for which support is provided to States/UTs through the National Health Mission(NHM).

She said that under DMHP, facilities have been made available at the Community Health Centre (CHC) and Primary Health Centre(PHC) levels. The facilities include outpatient services, assessment, counselling or psycho-social interventions, continuing care and support to persons with severe mental disorders, drugs, outreach services, ambulance services etc., the Minister said.

Besides this, the government has taken other initiatives like setting up of a 24×7 helpline to provide psychosocial support by mental health professionals to the entire affected population, divided into different target groups viz children, adult, elderly, women and healthcare workers, she said. The Minister said that a total of 5,77,743 calls have been received on the helpline till date. 

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