Vidit Bahri, Sukoon, ET HealthWorld

by Rahul Devi

The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 in India has brought about significant changes in the landscape of mental healthcare in the country. According to Vidit Bahri, Co-founder & Chief Growth Officer of Sukoon Health, the Act has given patients more autonomy in choosing their treatment and healthcare providers. It has also laid out minimum standards for infrastructure, professional care, and the duration of stay in mental health institutions.

One of the major challenges in the field of mental health in India is the lack of professionals. Currently, there are only 10,000 psychiatrists for a population of 1.3 billion. Another challenge is the cultural stigma associated with mental health, which makes it difficult for individuals to seek help or talk openly about their issues. Awareness about mental health is also lacking, and there is a scarcity of mental health institutes.

In Tier II and Tier III cities, the availability of mental health professionals is scarce, and the treatment gap is wider. This creates a challenge in making mental healthcare more accessible to people in these cities. The use of technology can play a crucial role in bridging this gap and providing care by professionals. Developing inpatient models that meet good standards of care is also essential for serving people in these cities.

Despite the challenges, there are numerous opportunities in the field of mental healthcare in India. Companies, including Sukoon Health, are exploring different categories of care, such as child and adolescent, adult, and geriatric care. Technology is also being used to provide mental health services at scale, making it more convenient for individuals to access care from their homes using laptops or mobile phones.

Sukoon Health follows a personalized approach to treatment, with each patient being assigned a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and therapists. The treatment is tailored according to the individual’s needs and not based on a one-size-fits-all approach. The role of caregivers is also emphasized, as their involvement and support are crucial for the continued treatment and results.

In conclusion, mental healthcare in India is undergoing a revolution. The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 has brought about positive changes in the autonomy of patients and standards of care. However, challenges such as a lack of professionals, cultural stigma, and limited access to care in Tier II and III cities still exist. By leveraging technology and adopting personalized approaches to treatment, there are significant opportunities to improve mental healthcare in the country.

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