India stands to lose Rs 62,000,00 Crore ($1.03 trillion) including the cost of healthcare and support services and loss of economic activity due to mental heath disorders by 2030. Issuing the dire forecast, a combined study by the Harvard School of Public Health and World Economic Forum warned that depression is set to become the biggest cause of deaths, overtaking cardio-vascular diseases by 2030.
It’s not all bad news though. A WHO led study of the health and economic benefits of investing in the treatment of common mental disorders, published in Lancet Psychiatry has concluded that for every $1 spent on mental health for treatment such as counselling and medication, governments could receive a $4 return on their investment.
The trouble is, in spite of a high prevalence rate of mental health disorders, India spends very little on mental healthcare. She belongs to a league of those low-income countries that spends only around 1% of their healthcare budget on mental health. Even Sri Lanka is far ahead of India in this respect.
National Mental Health Survey of India has concluded that one in six people in India suffers from mental disorders. Some experts believe the prevalence rate is much higher which suggests that more than 200 million people in India are in need of mental health services.
Experts fear that as India tries to upgrade her skills to compete in the world, stress, anxiety and other more serious mental disorders will spike up even higher, especially among the younger working-age people.
India needs to draw and implement a comprehensive national emotional wellness plan if she wishes to realise her demographic dividend by continuously improving efficiency and productivity of the workforce. This can’t be achieved without ensuring emotional wellness of working age people.
The present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears inclined to invest in the emotional wellness to reap the rich rewards of a higher economic growth through increased quality and productivity.
WHO emphasises that Mental, Emotional and Behavioural disorders are a serious threat to national security and economy. They cost $2.5 trillion a year to the global economy in direct and indirect costs, because workers are less productive, take off from work, contribute less to taxes and can rely on the government for healthcare and welfare while they struggle with their disability.