Presentation (Project) Title

The Decrease in Mental Health Stigma in India from 1947 to Now

Mentor Information

Holly Donahue Singh (Judy Genshaft Honors College)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Due to the mental health stigma embedded in India’s culture, there have been many social and medical repercussions for Indian people with mental illnesses (PWMI). A century ago, patients in treatment facilities were not even allowed to see their families. Since then, the mental health stigma in India has greatly improved, especially over the last two decades. Implementation of programs such as community-based intervention and telepsychiatry has reduced the stigma established in the public. This research project aims to compare the financial, medical, and social support that PWMI in India received in the 1950s with the current response for PWMI in the last twenty years. Through increased legal action, medical intervention, and social acceptance, current patients have considerably higher access to care and support for their mental illness. Despite this progress in Indian urban cities, however, the vast majority of village health workers in rural areas still believe mental illness is not a real medical condition. Such misconceptions require education in mental health and enforcement of healthcare policies. It is important to analyze the progress made to understand which mental health stigma barriers still need to be dismantled.

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The Decrease in Mental Health Stigma in India from 1947 to Now

Due to the mental health stigma embedded in India’s culture, there have been many social and medical repercussions for Indian people with mental illnesses (PWMI). A century ago, patients in treatment facilities were not even allowed to see their families. Since then, the mental health stigma in India has greatly improved, especially over the last two decades. Implementation of programs such as community-based intervention and telepsychiatry has reduced the stigma established in the public. This research project aims to compare the financial, medical, and social support that PWMI in India received in the 1950s with the current response for PWMI in the last twenty years. Through increased legal action, medical intervention, and social acceptance, current patients have considerably higher access to care and support for their mental illness. Despite this progress in Indian urban cities, however, the vast majority of village health workers in rural areas still believe mental illness is not a real medical condition. Such misconceptions require education in mental health and enforcement of healthcare policies. It is important to analyze the progress made to understand which mental health stigma barriers still need to be dismantled.