India's Mental Health Crisis (The New York Times, To the Editor)
India lacks mental health care
Re “India’s mental health crisis” (Editorial, Dec. 31): India’s mental health conundrum is compounded not by just a scarcity of trained professionals but also by resource deficits, such as a lack of mental institutions and beds for the mentally ill. Few government hospitals have a psychiatric outpatient facility and only a handful have inpatient facilities for psychiatry patients. Such resource deficits result in treatment gaps where 50 to 90 percent of people with urgent needs are unable to access health services.
Strategic efforts in mental health can only commence with a steadfast governmental commitment. Over the past two decades, as I have treated and researched mental health concerns in Indian families, both in India and America, I have witnessed firsthand how the absence of early preventive action results in long-term suffering for families.
Shaifali Sandhya, Chicago
The writer is a clinical psychologist and an associate professor at Adler University.
Published in the New York Times on January 25, 2015