Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 307--308

The public health concern of mental illnesses: Strengthening of the mental health sector


Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur ‐ Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. The public health concern of mental illnesses: Strengthening of the mental health sector.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:307-308


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. The public health concern of mental illnesses: Strengthening of the mental health sector. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 10 ];10:307-308
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/307/196799


Full Text

A sound state of mental health has been considered as an integral and essential aspect of an optimal state of health.[1] In fact, a person with an optimal mental health knows his/her abilities, manages the routine stresses, works productively, and contributes to the development of the society.[1],[2] Further, the prevalence of mental disorders has been enormous and has affected people irrespective of any socio-demographic factors, and that health system has failed to adequately respond to the burden.[1],[2] In-fact, more than three-fourth and one-third of the diseased individuals have no access to treatment in low and middle-income and high-income nations respectively

A wide range of social, psychological, and biological factors eventually ascertain the status of mental health of an individual at any specific time, and thus promotion of the same essentially comprises measures to create an environment, which allows security and freedom to people to sustain good lifestyle practices and prevent violation of human rights.[2],[3] In fact, the national mental health policies should not only target mental disorders but also comprehensively consider all factors and involve the concerned stakeholders, to ensure promotion or restoration of mental health.[1],[2],[3]

Specific cost-effective measures to ensure promotion of mental health comprises interventions like home visits for antenatal women, psycho-social activities during preschool phase, initiatives for the promotion of mental health in schools, skill-building or child and youth development initiatives, strategies for women empowerment through expansion of education or microcredit options, assistive services for the elderly like community/day care centers, additional nutritional-cum-psycho-social support for vulnerable population groups either because of their position in the society or following a disaster, stress prevention programs at workplace, measures to decrease violence in the society (like minimizing access to alcohol or arms), strategies for the upliftment of the poor people, and antidiscrimination laws and campaigns.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Even though prevention is extremely important, measures should be targeted toward meeting the special needs of people diagnosed with mental illnesses.[2],[4],[5] Over the years, the understanding about the existing barriers (such as shortage of trained health professionals, absence of comprehensive services at a single place, geographical disparity, poor awareness among people, long duration of treatment, infrastructure or resource constraints, etc.) and the effectiveness of interventions (like treatment of various psychological illnesses through appropriate drugs or imposing extra tax on alcoholic beverages) have improved among the program managers, and it is high time to make use of them.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]

In addition, specific recommendations have been proposed to empower nonspecialists to enable them to improve and treat common mental illnesses.[2] At the same time, there is an extensive need to prioritize the concept of promotion of mental health among policy makers to ensure the integration of effective interventions into policies and plans.[2],[4],[5],[6]

To conclude, it is a fundamental right of every person to lead a life with an optimal state of mental health. Thus, it is the responsibility of each stakeholder to ensure promotion, protection, and restoration of mental health of individuals and communities across the globe.

Acknowledgement

S.R.S. contributed to the conception or designing of the work, drafting of the work, and approving the final version of the manuscript.

P.S.S. contributed to the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, and approval of the final version of the manuscript.

J.R. contributed to revising the draft and approving the final version of the manuscript.

References

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2World Health Organization. Mental health: strengthening our response - Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 13].
3Derr AS. Mental health service use among immigrants in the United States: a systematic review. Psychiatr Serv 2016;67:265-74.
4Bonabi H, Müller M, Ajdacic-Gross V, Eisele J, Rodgers S, Seifritz E. Mental health literacy, attitudes to help seeking, and perceived need as predictors of mental health service use: a longitudinal study. J Nerv Ment Dis 2016;204:321-4.
5Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood and adolescence: challenges in mental health. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2013;22:84-5.
6Ali SH, Agyapong VI. Barriers to mental health service utilisation in Sudan: perspectives of carers and psychiatrists. BMC Health Serv Res 2016;16:31.
7Nemec PB, Swarbrick M, Legere L. Prejudice and discrimination from mental health service providers. Psychiatr Rehabil J 2015;38: 203-6.