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How India perceives mental health: 47% people use terms like ‘retard’ for people with mental illnesses

Deepika Padukone's NGO The Live Love Laugh Foundation conducted a survey to assess the perception of people about mental health.

Written by: India TV Lifestyle Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: March 24, 2018 7:13 IST ]
Image Source : ANI How India perceives mental health: 47% people use terms like ‘retard’ for people with mental illnesses

Mental illness is now being talked about, but sadly, the awareness around the health condition is still far from sufficient. There are still many people who consider mental illness a sever disorder like schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, indicates a report ‘How India Perceives Mental Health’ by The Live Love Laugh foundation. The Live Love Laugh Foundation was found by Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, who opened up about her depression battle in 2015.

The report, by The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), was launched in New Delhi on Friday by its founder and actess Deepika Padukone. The actress’ sister and Director of the TLLLF was also present at the event.

The Live Laugh Love Foundation approached the Kantar Public to map the mental health landscape in India. The objective of the survey was to assess the mental health awareness in country. It was also intended to gauge the public perceptions about people who are suffering from mental illnesses.

The findings are based on views of 3,556 respondents across eight Indian cities, and highlights the importance of focused stigma-reduction programmes in mental health initiatives. The results which came out of the survey were surprising to great extent.

As many as 87 percent of the respondents felt mental illness is a disorder.

Illustrating the poor understanding of the broad spectrum of mental illness, respondents were unlikely to associate mental illness with symptoms of more common mental disorders such as anxiety, when describing people with mental illness.

Deepika, who had earlier opened up about battling depression, told the media: "When we were talking about more celebrities coming out and speaking and when we were talking about stigma, there is a lot of miscommunication that depression happens to people who are successful.

"I want to clarify that it can happen to anybody from any field. There is a perception that it happens to big (popular) people who are successful. It is sometimes perceived as luxury... (But) It is important to break that myth."

The survey also revealed high prevalence of stigma with 47 per cent of the respondents using the word "retard" to describe people with mental illness.

Further, 60 per cent of respondents believe that people with mental illness "should have their own groups to avoid contaminating healthy people" and 68 per cent believe that they "should not be given any responsibility".

As many as 60 per cent of the respondents believe that mental illness is caused by a "lack of self-discipline and willpower".

TLLLF 2018 National Survey Report: 'How India Perceives Mental Health,' is the result of a five-month research project commissioned in July 2017 by TLLLF.

Deepika was accompanied on Friday by Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare and Anna Chandy, Chair of TLLLF's Board of Trustees and Dr Shyam Bhat, Trustee - TLLLF, for the report's launch.

Chandy said: "Traditionally and historically, India is a collectivistic society, now slowly moving towards a more individualistic one.

"In larger cities, we see a more dramatic shift towards individualism, possibly due to an increase in the amount of access to information and migrant need for survival.

"However, smaller cities like Kanpur and Patna seem to retain some of their collectivistic roots, and are moving towards an individualistic society at a slower pace."

Some of the other key highlights of the report are; approximately one in two people associate "being healthy" to "happiness", one in two people link "being healthy" with "having a sound/healthy mind", almost half of the participants used words such as "retard" or "crazy/mad/dtupid" while describing people with mental illness.

As many as 92 per cent of the respondents believe that people with mental illness should visit a specialist doctor.

(With IANS Inputs)

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