The perception of mental health among Indians has increased significantly, claimed a new survey, which found as many as 92 per cent of its respondents agreeing to seek treatment as opposed to 54 per cent in 2018.
Conducted by the LiveLoveLaugh Foundation (LLL), a charitable trust founded by actor Deepika Padukone, the key objectives of the study were to understand status changes regarding the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) towards mental health since LLL's earlier study in 2018.
For the research, LLL commissioned Sattva Consulting to survey 3,497 respondents spread across nine cities -- Bengaluru, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, and Pune -- between August 5 and September 9 this year.
"In what is a boost for the perception of mental health interventions, 92 per cent of those surveyed, a significant jump from the 54 per cent of respondents in 2018, said they would seek treatment and support a person seeking treatment for mental illness," the study found.
"Greater awareness of mental health is key to creating more acceptance and conversations. Since its inception, LLL has been committed to changing India's mental health narrative to create greater acceptance for persons with mental illness. We are glad to see that gradual change has begun," said Anisha Padukone, CEO, LLL.
As per the survey, 96 per cent respondents said they were aware of at least one mental illness. However, very few respondents were aware of personality disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, eating disorders, and child disorders such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Of the respondents who knew at least one mental illness, 77 per cent were aware of depression and 65 per cent recognised stress as a cause for mental illness.
The survey also revealed a "dramatic shift in the perception of the competence of people with mental illness" with 65 per cent, more than double the 32 per cent from 2018, believing that individuals with mental illness could hold jobs and lead stable, healthy lives.
Further, 68 per cent respondents also said that individuals with mental illnesses can have meaningful relationships with friends, family and significant others.
Dr Shyam Bhat, chairperson of LiveLoveLaugh, said that the study also showed major gaps in the understanding of conditions like schizophrenia and OCD, along with access to mental healthcare.
"A reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health is very encouraging. People are becoming more knowledgeable about common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety .. Improving access to mental healthcare is a critical need and should be the focus of any planning discussions about the subject at every level of governance," Bhat said.
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