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President Ram Nath Kovind calls nation to fight mental stigma

News Agencies | Updated on: 2 November 2017, 15:59 IST

President Ram Nath Kovind on 2 November, while inaugurating the 21st World Congress of Mental Health, called upon the nation to fight mental stigma.

World Congress of Mental Health has been organised by the World Federation for Mental Health, in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions, in the national capital today.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time and has come in the country at an appropriate moment.

"Mental health issues are acquiring a serious magnitude in our country. Our National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India's population required active mental health interventions," President Kovind said.

The president said people living in the metropolitan cities are most vulnerable to mental illnesses.

He added that there is young crowd in India, with 65 per cent of people below the age of 35, which leaves staring at a possible mental health epidemic.

The President said that the biggest obstacle that mental health patients have to encounter is stigma and denial.

"This leads to the issue being ignored or simply not discussed. We need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured - not as guilty secrets that must be pushed under the carpet," he said.

President Kovind said that India's National Mental Health Programme is building 22 Centres of excellence in the field of mental health. In parallel, the District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India. It is taking the conversation about mental health to the grassroots of our society.

He also expressed happiness that the World Congress will have sessions on yoga, meditation and traditional approaches to mental health.


First published: 2 November 2017, 15:59 IST