Dr. Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Health Care at MediBuddy, emphasizes the need to include mental health in primary care.
Mental health stigma and social taboos continue to prevail in India, even in this and era. Despite growing awareness, mental health is still seen in a negative sense. This has been seen as one of the reasons why patients suffering from mental health problems hesitate to seek medical advice.
Recent studies conducted at the global and national levels show that mental health problems are increasing day by day and even more among the younger population. Increasing mental health problems are a reason for concern and can be attributed to a variety of factors, including external stressors, circumstantial or genetic effects. But the biggest challenge is to uncover people’s perceptions of mental health and encourage them to seek treatment like any other chronic illness.
There is still considerable awareness of mental health among urban individuals. In the rural pockets of India, where most areas face a shortage of primary health services, there is little or no awareness of mental health issues. The lack of availability of medical resources, along with lack of awareness, is a major obstacle to diagnosis and treatment. One of the possible solutions is telemedicine. This allows individuals in the furthest areas to consult with a professional mental health professional on mental health issues with the help of technology.
The environmental stressor’s baggage pandemic has resulted in a huge rise in mental health-related problems such as depression, anxiety, excessive fear, lack of concentration, despair, sadness, and bereavement. But the availability of telemedicine was a disguised blessing. Improve accessibility and allow more individuals to seek help. Due to restrictions and blockades, remote counseling was an accessible mode for seeking help from mental health professionals. This allowed patients to consult with specialists on the go, make appointments at their convenience, and receive timely care from home safety.
Although medical friendship understands the importance of the situation and the need to focus on mental health issues. However, the existing burden of infectious and physical illnesses makes it difficult for them to prioritize both as practitioners. To remedy this, conscious efforts and medical education are being made to help understand mental health problems and early detection. It is imperative that practitioners engage in ongoing medical education and training, with a particular focus on mental health issues.
Treating patients with mental health problems requires a lot of time, empathy, and patience. Because there is no instruction or estimated timeline when the patient will recover. Every individual patient has a unique route to treatment that can last for weeks, months, or even years. This situation is even more troublesome due to the lack of mental health care professionals, the number of patients continues to grow, and the proportion of doctors treating them is increasing. But with the rise of digital healthcare, we hope to close the gap soon.
It is imperative to treat mental health issues like any other physical illness. Through medical fraternity and the joint efforts of individuals, we can promote individuals, eliminate stigma, and encourage them to consult a medical professional.
Inclusion of mental health issues under primary care
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