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Technology Providing Mental Health Help in India.

According to the National Mental Health Survey released in 2016, nearly 150 million Indians need mental health care services but less than 30 million are seeking care. This mirrors global trends. The World Health Organization reports that in low- and middle-income countries, 76-85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. There are a range of reasons for this, from a lack of awareness about mental illness to limited access to professional help and the cost of treatment.

And yet Wysa, YourDOST, Lean On Me, and other new digital ventures in mental health are able to harness technology to leap over one of the biggest reasons people don't seek treatment --stigma. The Economic Times reports that the anonymity and privacy these apps and websites offer goes a long way in removing the inhibitions those grappling with mental health issues might have in seeking professional help.

"Yes, there is a shortage of mental health professionals in India but it is not as if the ones that we have are overbooked, unlike in a country like the UK, where there is a one-year waitlist to see a psychologist," says Jo Aggarwal, who terms Wysa a "fire extinguisher" that can fit in a user's pocket.

"The idea is that anybody can reach out and help these people. This is their first port of call," states CR Chandrasekhar, a former professor psychiatry at NIMHANS in Bengaluru. Many people often go to "faith healers" and others before they finally turn to psychiatrists and psychologists, he adds.

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Title Annotation:ea roundup
Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 1, 2018
Words:254
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