The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short- and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions. Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened.
With an aim to initiate a discourse on mental health, WHO has declared that for World Mental Health Day 2022, an annual day observed on Oct 10, the organisation will work with its partners to launch a campaign around the theme of Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority.
On this note, let us look at how various organisations in India are observing World Mental Health Day 2022.
Himalaya Wellness Company
To improve access to mental health in districts of Karnataka, Himalaya Wellness Company, one of India’s leading wellness brands, has partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) to develop an indigenized pilot model framework for suicide prevention research and surveillance.
Titled Project Suraksha, this pilot program will assess the feasibility and acceptability of community-based suicide prevention programs and their cost-effectiveness across varied nodal stakeholder groups involving farmers, labourers, daily wage workers, student communities, media professionals, and women groups. It will also establish a cohort for future longitudinal studies, that is to repeatedly examine the same individuals to detect any changes that might occur over a period. Following the pilot research and feasibility study, the project will be scaled up to a national level over a period of three years.
Speaking on the project, K G Umesh, Director of Human Resources, Himalaya Wellness Company, said, “At the core of Himalaya’s vision is the ‘Care for Life’ philosophy. Through this partnership with NIMHANS, we endeavor to build a holistic community-based suicide surveillance program to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of suicide prevention through various interventions, thereby aiming to reduce the suicide rate at the state and national level.”
This initiative outlines evidence-based strategies like restricting access to means of suicide, responsible media reporting of suicide, training programs to promote life skills among the youth, and the early identification and management of the risk of suicide.
BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital
To mark world mental health day, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital launched a series of initiatives as part of their efforts to protect and enhance mental wellbeing of their employees, patients, and their caregivers. The inauguration of the Lifestyle Management Clinic and Heartfulness Program alongside the launch of the book ‘Think Right’ were some of the initiatives announced at a press conference held at the hospitals Kengeri unit.
The several programs were rolled out in the presence of Biju Nair, Cluster COO, Gleneagles Global Hospital Bengaluru; Dr C R Chandrashekar, Senior Psychiatrist, Retired Professor from NIMHANS, Lead Community Mental Health Clinician; Dr Raghu K, Chief Psychiatrist & Consultant – Life Style Management, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital Bengaluru; Mr Madhusudhan K, Shri Ram Chandra Mission / Heartfulness Meditation, Karnataka and Mrs Sumalatha Vasudeva, Psychologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital Bengaluru.
On this occasion Biju Nair, Cluster COO said,” As we continue to experience the short- and long-term pressures created by the pandemic, our efforts are continually directed towards building programs that uplift and support both our employees and patients providing them access to the right care and resources to manage both physical and mental illness. We are happy to partner with Heartfulness Meditation Center to bring the Heartfulness program to our doctors, staff, patients, and caregivers which involves various techniques including meditation, rejuvenation, prayer, and relaxation helping people enhance the quality of life.”
Underlining the importance of the lifestyle management and heartfulness program, Dr. Raghu K, Consultant -Lifestyle Management at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital added, “There has been an enormous increase in lifestyle disorders across the board both in terms of the population and the age of the people involved. The launch of the lifestyle management clinic is to address this issue of society at large and specifically of the patient group. It has been seen across all specialties that most of the patients have lifestyle issues which at present are going unaddressed. This clinic hopes to address this need from a holistic approach but based on modern evidence-based medicine. Additionally, most people are facing one kind of stress or another. The collaboration with the heartfulness meditation program would help us to offer these services in-house within the hospital premises, all under one roof, so that patients or their carers don’t have to go elsewhere to seek these services.”