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Mental Health India: It's time to change.

“Why Is It So Hard To Find Good Mental Healthcare In India?“ upon reading this headline on a famous opinion website, the psychologist in me was instantly enraged and yet drawn to it. So I tapped on the link and read on. It was a long article outlining the experiences a lot of Indians had had trying to seek some decent mental health care. Their stories fraught with one bad experience after the other, made me mad. Not at them but at the amount of struggle they had to go through while suffering from a mental illness. There was in all; one story where the woman shared that she was lucky enough to find a good psychologist. This told me two things. First, was that my fellow citizens thought themselves as being “lucky” to find mental health care that helped like they were supposed to be an exception rather than the norm and second, it was a failure on my part to feel enraged at the article for being disappointed at mental health professionals in our country. I am that mental health professional who I believe has not done her best to provide accessible and affordable healthcare in our country. I know we cannot help everyone but we could at least be of help to those around us. There is scope for more. Much more.

So to all my fellow psychologists out there, I know it can be very difficult to make people understand the depth of what we do and how we can help. Every profession is fraught with its own hardships and ours is too. Yes the popular opinion we hear around us as psychologists is that “therapy doesn’t work”, “you can’t just talk and solve problems” “India is a bad place to be a psychologist, no one respects a psychologist here”, “No one even knows what we do” But I want to tell you that there are countless people struggling in our country, looking for us who we can be there for.

In fact, as a mental health professional in India we have the pleasure of spreading awareness about what it is that we do and see people’s faces change, there’s a light in their eyes that shines, a bulb in their head that glows. Why? Because we managed to give a name to the countless problems no other health professional was able to sufficiently help them with, we managed to validate that their distressing thoughts, emotions and behaviour. We helped them realise that it is not something they are are making up but their problem actually has a name and can be helped. And we get to be the person that helps them. Our country need 13,500 professionals as of the latest surveys, let us be those 13,500.

So let’s come together to reach out to people around us who are open to giving us a chance, let’s use our skills and resources to help them and hopefully one day the world will read the headline “India: Where Mental Healthcare is accessible and affordable for all”.

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