LiveLoveLaugh study states significant shifts in India’s perception of Mental Health

In what is a boost for the perception of mental health interventions, 92% of those surveyed, a significant jump from the 54% of respondents in 2018, said they would seek treatment and support a person seeking treatment for mental illness.

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 LiveLoveLaugh (LLL) has announced the results of its nationwide mental health survey - How India Perceives Mental Health. The key objectives of the study were to understand status changes regarding the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) towards mental health since LLL’s earlier study in 2018.

For the research, LLL commissioned Sattva Consulting to survey 3,497 respondents spread across nine cities (Bengaluru, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, and Pune) between 5th August and 9th September this year.

In what is a boost for the perception of mental health interventions, 92% of those surveyed, a significant jump from the 54% of respondents in 2018, said they would seek treatment and support a person seeking treatment for mental illness. The study also revealed a dramatic shift in the perception of the competence of people with mental illness with 65%, more than double the 32% from 2018, believing that individuals with mental illness could hold jobs and lead stable, healthy lives.

Anisha Padukone, CEO, LiveLoveLaugh, commented on the changes from the 2018 study, saying, Greater awareness of mental health is key to creating more acceptance and conversations. Since its inception, LLL has been committed to changing India’s mental health narrative to create greater acceptance for persons with mental illness. We are glad to see that gradual change has begun. By encouraging open conversations, help-seeking behavior, and other mental health interventions, we hope to help create a world where no one who is struggling feels alone.”

The findings, although encouraging, also point to gaps in the system and call for collaborative action from stakeholders across the mental health sector, specifically regarding access to treatment. Respondents believed cost, stigma, and socioeconomic conditions restrict access to mental health support. Commenting on the need for better access, Dr Shyam Bhat, Chairperson of LiveLoveLaugh, said, “A reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health is very encouraging. People are becoming more knowledgeable about common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. However, as the study shows, there continue to be major gaps in the understanding of conditions like schizophrenia, OCD, and childhood disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), all of which are substantial public health issues. Then, there is the problem of access. Improving access to mental healthcare is a critical need and should be the focus of any planning discussions about the subject at every level of governance.”The survey also reveals that the shift in perception of mental illness extends beyond treatment and competence to social aspects. For instance, 68% of respondents believed that people with mental illness could form meaningful relationships with friends, family, and companions.

Founded by Deepika Padukone, LiveLoveLaugh is a charitable trust that aims to give hope to those experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression