Budget 2022: National Tele Mental Health Program
Digital health has been made a priority under the Digital India campaign particularly after the onset of the pandemic and Budget 2022 has gone a step further to improve the health condition of the citizens. The Finance Minister has announced a National Tele Mental Health Program under the expert guidance of NIMHANS as the nodal organisation.
With the onset of the pandemic, while physical health was threatened, the mental health of people around the world has faced damages and unfortunately, it is mental health that has not received much attention from citizens and health providers alike owing to the grave threat to physical health. The Centre informed Rajya Sabha in December 2021 that 10.6 per cent of adults in India face some kind of mental disorder.
Beyond the pandemic as well, according to the World Health Organization, the economic loss due to mental health conditions between 2012-2030 is estimated to be $ 1.03 trillion in India. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019, even before the pandemic, at least 50 million children in India were affected by mental health issues and 80 – 90 per cent have not sought support.
In such situations and under conditions like the high expense of mental health support, the National Tele Mental Health Program is more than just an extension of the digital health mission. It is a conscious investment into the human capital of the country and an effort in the direction of improving the quality of life of the citizens.