W4: Mental Health In India

India is located in southern Asia, bordering the Arabian sea and the bay of Bengal. It lies between Burma and Pakistan, with a population of roughly 1.2 billion. It lies the worlds largest democracy and governed by Bharatiya Janata Party which holds power in 14 states, comprising 68% of India’s population (WorldBank).

According to CNN, India is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. This is because of the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor, along with forced marriage and other issues (Dewaan 2018). One of these issues include mental health. In an article by Savita Malhortra titled,”Women and Mental Health in India Overview”, the topic of how mental health affects women is discussed. She writes that, “Gender is a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. The patterns of psychological distress and psychiatric disorder among women are different from those seen among men. Women have a higher mean level of internalizing disorders while men show a higher mean level of externalizing disorders….Social factors and gender specific factors determine the prevalence and course of mental disorders in female sufferers. Low attendance in hospital settings is partly explained by the lack of availability of resources for women. Around two-thirds of married women in India were victims of domestic violence.” (2015). This issue is very important to identifying because it is so prevalent. As mentioned in the lecture titled, “violence against women, trauma, and resilience as health issues”, we see that trauma can be determined as being “culturally determined…what is traumatic to [an individual] may not necessarily be traumatic to [another]”. (ANP 270). Identifying what traumatic and the differences it has for people is important in helping to determine how to help. In India, it is important to determine what factors contribute to mental health. In research by Indira Sharma and Abhishek Pathak, we see that “the Indian culture is unique. Joint family system, patriarchy, marriage a must, especially women; marriage is a sacrosanct union, permanent union; subservient status of daughters-in-law at home, preference for the male child, practice of dowry, lower educational status of women, strict code of conduct for females, and primary roles of women being childbearing and child rearing, and the “Indian Paradox” (the married woman with severe mental illness, subjected to domestic violence…are all part of the Indian culture. These factors significantly affect the occurrence, manifestations, treatment, and outcome of mental disorders in women of India” (2015). The gender differences have an affect on how the mental health of these women are affected, showing that depression is the most common of the mental disorders and more persistent in the women in India than in the men. This can come from risk factors including gender-based roles, stressors, and negative life experiences and events. We see that “Depression is widely prevalent in women in all age groups especially in India where 1.2 billion population lives. In the current scenario of underdiagnosed, untreated cases of females suffering from depression, the hurdles faced by Indian women include inadequate number of mental health professionals, lack of awareness, stigma, disadvantaged position of women, multiple roles, increased levels of stress, and domestic violence.” (Srivastava, Bhatia, Bohra 2015). Identifying such factors will be easier to determine how to deal with them. Factors such as adequate public education, health programs, and things of the sort will help alleviate such issues that arise for these women suffering from mental health disorders in India.

Outside Sources
Dewan, Angela. “India Most Dangerous Nation for Women, US Ranks 10th in Survey.” CNN. June 26, 2018. Accessed July 27, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/25/health/india-dangerous-country-women-survey-intl/index.html.
“Overview.” World Bank. October 11, 2017. Accessed July 27, 2018. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/india/overview.
Malhotra, Savita, and Ruchita Shah. “Women and Mental Health in India: An Overview.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 57, no. 6 (July 2015): 205. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.161479.
Sharma, Indira, and Abhishek Pathak. “Women Mental Health in India.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 57, no. 6 (July 2015): 201. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.161478.
Srivastava, Shruti, Ms Bhatia, and Neena Bohra. “Depression in Women in Indian Context.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 57, no. 6 (July 2015): 239. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.161485.

Leave a Reply