Alarming rise of mental cases in India: Over 5 cr Indians affected by depression, 3 cr others have anxiety, says WHO


Sounding the alarm over the rapid increase in the number of people struggling with mental health issues in the country, the  (WHO) has said that over five crore Indians are suffering from depression,a major contributor to global suicides occuring mainly in India and other low- and middle-income countries.

In its new global health estimates on depression, WHO said that 322 million people are living with depression worldwide and nearly half of them live in South East Asian and Western Pacific region, reflecting relatively large populations of India and China.

WHO document shows that while over five crore Indians, suffered from depression in 2015, over three crore others suffered from anxiety disorders in the corresponding year.

The total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4 per cent between 2005 and 2015, it said.

According to WHO figures, the total cases of depressive disorders in 2015 in India were 5,66,75,969 which was 4.5 per cent of population in 2015 while total cases of anxiety disorders were 3,84,250,93 which was 3 per cent of the population in the same year period.

The report titled ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders – Global Health Estimates’ said over two-thirds of global suicides were in low- and middle-income countries like India in 2015.

For depressive disorders, WHO said total Years Lived with Disability (YLD) in India was 1,00,504,11 which was 7.1 per cent of total YLD, for anxiety disorders, total years for YLD was 35,19,527 which was 2.5 per cent of to .

The document noted that in 2015, an estimated 7,88,000 people died due to suicide while many more than this number attempted but did not die.

It said suicide accounted for close to 1.5 per cent of all deaths worldwide, bringing it into the top 20 leading causes of death in 2015.

“Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2015,” it said.

According to a WHO report published in 2014, India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012.

Apart from depression, anxiety is another major contributor to suicides in India and other middle income countries.

The suicide rate varies by WHO Region and by sex, ranging from below 5 per 100,000 population among females in low- and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and American Regions to 20 or more among males in high-income countries and also in the low- and middle-income countries of the African, European and South-East Asian Regions.

The data shows that both depression and anxiety were also found to be far more common in women than in men.

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