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Reality Check: Woman Shares Cost Of Therapy To Show How Inaccessible Mental Health Care Is

Reality Check: Woman Shares Cost Of Therapy To Show How Inaccessible Mental Health Care Is

According to the World Health Organisation, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asia region. And while conversations about the importance of mental health awareness have definitely started to open up, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that we still have a long way to go. After the tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found hanging in his apartment last month, celebrities, fans and well-wishers took to social media to encourage people to ‘reach out’ and ‘seek help’.

It’s easy to tell someone to get professional help for their mental illness–and though it is certainly prudent advice–we are still ill-informed about how inaccessible mental health care in India is. Keeping aside the fact that going to a therapist or a psychiatrist is still largely a ‘taboo’ in our society, the more alarming aspect is that the majority of our population cannot afford it.

To shed light on this subject, twitter user Karnika Kohli shared exactly what it is like to ‘seek help’ for mental health issues and the myriad of challenges that come along with it.

That’s Not A Typo

That’s not an extra zero accidentally added to the figure. This is the actual amount of money she has spent on trying to improve her mental health. She points out how she is extremely privileged and financially secure, and yet it is expensive for her.

Finding The Right Therapist Is Challenging Enough

You don’t buy the first shoe in the store, right? You gotta try many to find one that’s the perfect size and fit for you. Well, finding the therapist is something like that. Only a lot less enjoyable.

You Won’t Be ‘Instantly’ Cured

It’s not as simple as going to a doctor, taking prescribed medication and feeling better instantly. Therapy can take weeks or months to be effective.

Let’s Talk Numbers

For therapy to be effective, you’ll need to go at least once a week. That’s four sessions a month. Let’s do the math:

Mental Illnesses Bring More Than Just One Issue To The Table

I got diagnosed with anxiety about a decade ago. When I started going to therapy, I realised that it came with a side of mild depression and OCD. Mental illnesses are complicated!

It’s A Different Ball Game If You Also Need Medication

For some people, therapy is enough. However, for a lot of cases, medication is also prescribed in addition to therapy to treat the physical symptoms. There’s absolutely NO shame in taking medication–you wouldn’t think twice before popping paracetamol for your fever, would you? But the unfortunate part is, you’re paying for two treatments now.

The Grim Reality

Talking about mental health is easy. Seeking treatment will make you feel better, but it will also mentally and financially exhaust you. How is this fair?

The Bottom Line

It’s hard enough to struggle with a mental illness. Why should it be equally hard to seek treatment for it?

So the next time you notice someone struggling, think twice before putting up the token ‘please seek help’ story on your Instagram. You need to do more. Reach out to the person, and ask them what they need. Ask them how you can help–be it financially or to find a mental health professional they can afford. And raise the topic of inaccessible mental health with your local government.

And then maybe someday, somehow, every human being in India will be able to afford mental health care when they need it.

Featured Image: Pexels

21 Jul 2020

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