Incidence of stress high in Uttar Pradesh but awareness about stress management abysmally low. A recent survey conducted by the Psychiatry Department of the King George Medical University (KGMU) has found that prevalence of stress was very high among people in Uttar Pradesh with financial difficulties being the top cause.
According to a faculty member in the Psychiatry Department, the KGMU survey found that only one fourth of the people, who were surveyed, knew about healthcare facilities or management of stress related disorders. The survey conducted on 12,000 respondents mainly in small towns of the state found that a whopping 90 per cent of the people had experienced stress in the past year due to poverty and financial difficulties. The survey was conducted across four districts – Muzaffarnagar, Jhansi, Maharajganj and Lakhimpur Kheri.
Dr Prakriti Poddar, expert in mental health and Director, Poddar Wellness Ltd, said, “Incidence of stress and mental disorders have increased dramatically in India in recent years with changing lifestyles, a shift towards nuclear families contributing to the trend. While in larger cities, major contributors to stress are difficult working conditions and professional challenges, in smaller towns financial difficulties still account for a major cause of stress.”
“Unfortunately, in small towns people are not even aware of how and where to seek help to deal with mental disorders emanating from stress. Even availability of healthcare facilities for the same is low, additionally taboos associated with mental disorders prevent people from seeking the help of psychiatrists and mental health experts,” she said.
Experts said that mental health issues can be tackled with apt support from the government and institutes as well. Awareness programmes provide an open acknowledgment from official bodies, adding legitimacy to the cause.
The days of mental illness being hushed under the carpet should be dispelled, as the government moves forward. At the school and institute levels, desensitisation of stigma towards mental illness and getting treated is important.
“Institutions should promote balanced well being by holding mental wellness classes and reinforcing the act of joy amongst students,” said Dr Poddar.