Mental Health Found A Place In Budget 2022 #MentalHealth #CauseAChatter

Being a mental health advocate, I was thrilled with the announcement of “Mental Health and R&D been given a top most priority in the budget 2022. Pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health, which is quite obvious when you look at these two prominent facts, one in four people are suffering from depression, while one in five are struggling with anxiety. And as pandemic continues , we might see things getting worse. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Public health measures that includes social distancing, lockdown, economic insecurity, school and business closure can make us feel isolated and lonely and can lead to severe depression and anxiety. And the worst part, is people are not even aware that they are suffering with some kind of mental health issues as they are unable to think beyond Covid 19.

In such a scenario government coming up with proposals like establishing National Tele Mental Health programme in India is considered as a boon.

What Is National Tele Mental Health programme ?

The National Tele Mental Health programme is launched to improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities. Government has announced the creation of 23 tele-mental health facilities, with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, serving as the nodal center. Nimhans’ role is to conceptualize the programme, develop the training content, train the counsellors of centers of excellence and monitor the programme. The toll free number finds a mention in the health ministry’s website, the CoWIN portal and the counselling is available in 13 languages. More than 650 doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors and psychiatric nurses working in government hospitals across India are involved in the helpline.

Benefits of Tele Mental Health Programme

  • To provide and support health care services of which mental care is a major domain to distant places through telemedicine which is a most popular information and communication system.
  • Tele medicine is a cost effective solution to health care as patients need not to travel and can be given treatment at their comfort zone.
  • Online video conferencing via personal computers or mobile phones has enhanced the management or follow-up of many mental patients.
  • People are more comfortable and less hesitant to share their problems online than meeting in person.
  • As people share their issues more comfortably accuracy rate in evaluation has been increased.
  • As new technologies can be used for diverse clients from different socio-cultural backgrounds and for different mental disorders, such systems becomes more adaptable and stable to meet varying clinical circumstances.
  • Tele mental health care is available for both individuals and groups. Therefore, it has better cost, efficacy, usefulness and profits on the investment.

Available Technologies for Tele Mental Health care

  • Videoconference, Telephone & Messaging Systems
  • Web-based Interventions
  • Mobile Phone Technology
  • Networking via Social Media & Group Discussions
  • Simulated People and Places ( use of three-dimensional, animated video presentations for mental health care purposes)
  • Internet Games

Challenges faced by Tele mental health care

  • Patients and clinicians should possess necessary skills to the technologies.
  • Establishing equipment and periodic upgradation might be quite challenging and require good amount of investment.
  • Subscribing to Internet Services would become absolute necessary.
  • Regular evaluation of the services and its efficacy will become unavoidable.
  • Unstable signals or access to Internet, that may make tele mental health services unpopular.
  • Patient’s and clinician’s reluctance due to technophobia could become a hinderance.
  • Unclear quality control and standards could lead to confusion.
  • Ethical and regulatory concerns exist about the use of web-based services, since the patients’ privacy might be at risk.

Despite of all these concerns tele medicine can be a boon for developing as well as for under developed countries due to improved access, reduced costs, flexibility under most circumstances, and interactive sessions between clients and clinicians . Tele mental health care is particularly warranted for under-developed communities and nations where these services are not available locally.

My Personal Opinion

As we know in India and worldwide we face immense shortage of mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Launching health care services and counselling centers will become reality and will start giving results only if we have people who are trained to handle such vast population. There is something called as Task Shifting. Now the idea of task shifting in global health is , when we see a shortage of specialized health care professionals, we can train whoever is available in the community to provide a range of health care interventions. As you know in our country mid wives are trained in a complex task like delivering babies than why can’t we train ordinary people for mental health interventions.

You can read more on Need For Mental Health Awareness and Inclusiveness from my previous post here.

‘This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration.’

This Post is Part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter Campaign

33 Replies to “Mental Health Found A Place In Budget 2022 #MentalHealth #CauseAChatter”

  1. This is the need of the hour. The pandemic has brought stress and anxiety into the vocabulary of many. People avoid getting treated as it is known as a taboo topic. They can consult in the safety of their homes. Will this facility be free?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent info! This is much needed for the havoc that the pandemic has caused and otherwise too as mental health is not something that is given much importance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post is so informative though I followed the budget but your pointers and description has made it easy to understand what exactly tele mental health facilities would mean and include.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I did not know this (and I am not proud of it) but I’m so glad that the conversations around mental health are gaining momentum. I really hope this is only an onward journey so people’s mental health can be stronger. I really hope this initiative works.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The fact that something so needed was started is heartening to see. Thanks for sharing this valuable information and spreading awareness about it. Let’s hope it reaches the target audience soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Truly, after the COVID 19 pendanic, metal health has shown a lot of efforts in spreading awareness and helping people. The tele mentle health program is very helpful for people. Though mental health has faced many challenges for this start will give result in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with your point that COVID norms or newnormal is making us feel isolated and lonely and are leading to severe depression and anxiety, which we don’t usually address. This step government is a boon is what I think.
    Beautifully penned down 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They say better late than never and finally this very important and yet ignored topic found a place. Well it had to, given the pandemic having hit a majority of population and drained them out mentally.

    Like

  9. It was actually needed. Mental Health is making it in the priority list and that’s good to see even. and thanks to you for this crisp post explaining tele-mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A very informative post Swati. There should be trained professionals in the field of mental health too. It’s a good news that government is taking steps towards mental health too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Indeed we all have to come together as many are falling into this due to fast paced life, anxiety, competitions and much more.
    No matter what the age is , all age groups are experiencing this issue.
    We need to work at each level.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A highly recommended step towards the right direction. This pandemic and our isolated lives have finally got us realized that mental health is an important part of life. Hope it would be implemented in a good way.

    Like

  13. It is really great that Mental Health is a top most priority in the budget 2022. indeed in this pandemic time, everyone need extra support for taking better care of their mental health. Tele Mental Health care program sounds amazing with many impressive features.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A budget allocation towards Mental Health and research is definitely a shot in the arm towards mental health awareness. Initiatives like Tele Mental Health programmes are the need of the hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, we need some serious steps taken towards Mental Health. And I agree to what you said that those who can be trained, should be given proper training so that more and more people will be benefitted..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It was so good to read that mental health was part of the budget this year and it is also nice to know that everyone is realising how important mental health is and it needs to be given the attention it deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I love the government’s initiative to establish a National Tele Mental Health programme in India. This is really the need of the hour. Your post provides such invaluable details about this programme.

    Liked by 1 person

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