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Lancet study says effective treatment of patients suffering from depression led to a 50% rise in the proportion of such patients starting work

By 2025, India will lose 39.6 million years of healthy life to mental illnesses unless steps are taken to address the “vast” mental health treatment gap in the country, according to a research led by Vikram Patel, a prominent expert in the field.

Three papers published in “The Lancet” and “The Lancet Psychiatry” journals suggest that a third of the global disease burden for mental, neurological and substance use disorders occurs in India and China. This  is more than all high-income countries combined.

Making a significant investment in improving mental health services, particularly for those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders, makes economic sense, according to a paper by World Health Organization professionals published in the medical journal, Lancet Psychiatry.

The authors of the Lancet paper studied investment patterns on mental health infrastructure in 36 countries, including India. They concluded that a scaled-up response to the public health problem had substantial economic benefits, and also increased the number of healthy years in a population.

Scaling up mental health operations, as mentioned in this article,  could include building awareness about mental health and illness, providing better health and social care services, better social and financial protection for persons with mental disorders, and better legislative protection and social support for persons, families and communities adversely affected by mental disorders, as recommended by the WHO.

To read our coverage of mental health in India, click here.

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