World Mental Health Day important things you must know


14 Oct 2022

The importance of mental health cannot be stressed enough. Just as it is important to take care of your physical health, mental well-being is equally critical. However, it is unfortunate that many people don’t understand the importance of mental health, and there are many stigmas attached to it. To address these issues, 10th October is celebrated as World Mental Health Day.

The day was first observed in 1992 by the World Federation of Mental Health. Since then, it has become an annual global event. The main objective of this day is to spread awareness on mental health and its impact on people’s lives. Recently, the day has gained widespread significance as many celebrities worldwide like Prince Harry, Ed Sheeran, and Deepika Padukone have come out in the open and spoken about their mental health issues and the importance of good mental health.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) also supports the World Mental Health Day to bring attention of the people towards mental health. For the first two years, the day did not have any specific theme, but from 1994 onwards, every year, the World Mental Health Day is observed based on a specific theme. The theme for 2022 is Mental Health in an Unequal World.

How to address mental health issues?

A mental health condition is like any other ailment that needs specific treatment. If you have been having regular mental breakdown, or constantly feeling stress or if someone around you is facing such a situation, don’t assume that it is just mood swings or they are just seeking attention. You must be alert and wary of such situations and help them by having a heart conversation or encourage them to visit a therapist or counsellor.

If you are having mental health issues, make sure that you discuss the issue with someone. It can have a significant impact on easing the stress, anxiety, and help the overall healing process. It can also help you understand the possible cause. Communication plays a vital role in getting treatment for mental health issues.

Mental health and health insurance

Over the years, health insurance in India has evolved significantly. Earlier, mental illnesses like psychological disorders and anxiety were counted as permanent exclusions from a health insurance policy. However, since 2017, after the Mental Health Care Act was implemented, IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) issued a circular to all the insurance companies directing them to cover mental illnesses.

Today, mental illnesses are given due importance and considered at pay with the physical illnesses by the insurance companies. According to WHO, ‘Health is a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing, and not merely absence of a disease.’

Many modern health insurance policies cover treatment of mental illnesses, psychological disorders and stress-related issues. As per IRDA, all health insurance plans that cover hospitalisation and OPD (out-patient department) treatment for physical illnesses must also cover the same for mental illnesses.

The future is bright

From being a topic that no one wanted to talk about to getting attention, mental health has finally started to get the due it deserves. Although the health insurance for mental health has made significant improvement over the last few years, it is still at a nascent stage in India. The coverage for mental illnesses is still limited, but things are going forward in the right direction, and insurance companies may offer extensive coverage in the future.

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