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Neglecting Mental Health: A Call for Integration in National Health Policy


The World Health Organisation defines health as considerably more than the lack of disease.Several factors influence a person’s health, including their lifestyle, the quality of their personal and familial relationships, and the nature of the community in which they reside. Governmental and private organisations currently support the Indian ealthcare industry. State governments predominantly fund a network of clinics and hospitals that offer free or nearly free primary, secondary, and tertiary care to their citizens.Mental health is a vital component of overall health, yet it has historically been marginalised and separated from general health policy. Individuals and society as a whole have suffered because of this division. To address this issue, it is necessary to integrate mental health into national health policy so that both mental and physical health receive equal consideration and comprehensive treatment.

Throughout time, mental health policy has been distinguished from general health policy. Mental illness has been historically and socially misunderstood, resulting in a rift that has led to the neglect of mental health. However, it is crucial to recognise that mental and physical health are interdependent, and that neglecting one negatively affects the other. Consequences of the Separation Separating mental health policy from general health policy hurts society. One of the worst impacts is mental health stigma and prejudice. Society implicitly stigmatises mental illness by seeing it as less important. This exacerbates stereotypes and biases, making it harder for persons with mental health disorders to be accepted into society. Mental health and general healthcare are separated, making treatment uneven and fragmented. Mental health services are often underfunded and less accessible than general healthcare. Thus, many mental health patients struggle to get timely and adequate therapy. mental care underfunded Thus, developing and implementing effective preventive, early intervention, and treatment initiatives is hindered.Separating mental health policy hinders the integration of mental health services into the healthcare system. This lack of integration causes mental health and general healthcare practitioners to work in silos. Early identification, intervention, and holistic healthcare requirements are ignored. This fragmented approach yields
inferior results and inhibits patients from obtaining complete treatment needed for overall health.

Separating mental health policy from general health policy fosters stigma, discrimination, uneven access to treatment, financing and resource allocation, and healthcare system integration. To address these difficulties, mental health must be seen as an essential part of total health. By removing these barriers, society can improve mental health treatment and build a better, more inclusive society.

The Need for Integration

Numerous studies have shown that mental and physical health are interconnected, making mental health policy essential. Policymakers may benefit from recognising mental health as part of total health. Integration improves mental and physical wellness. Coordination ensures comprehensive treatment regimens, reducing problems and improving health. Mental health in general health policy enhances efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Early intervention in mental health issues prevents symptoms from worsening and requiring more costly treatment. Integration also fights mental
health stigma. Equating mental and physical health promotes acceptance, understanding, and compassion for mental illness.

Integration requires policy proposals. Policymakers must promote mental health-general health cooperation and collaboration. Effective communication and collaborative decision-making may foster integration by allowing sectors to share information and resources. Integrating healthcare models is essential. Multidisciplinary teams of mental health workers, primary care doctors, and specialists provide complete mental and physical health treatment. Comprehensive mental health education and awareness programmes reduce stigma and improve public understanding.
De-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating it into general health may help people seek therapy without guilt or shame.Integration requires overcoming hurdles. Public mental health education and focused stigma reduction may overcome stigma, one of the biggest challenges. Integration requires de-stigmatization.Mental health insurance coverage and fragmented healthcare systems must alsobe addressed. Removing these barriers makes mental health treatment easier and cheaper. An integrated mental health strategy needs public and political support to change. Advocacy, community engagement, and mental health experts’ participation may build support for integration, forcing governments to prioritise it. Finally, integration requires sufficient finance and resources.

Mental health budgets should prioritise equality and long-term investment to enhance healthcare system integration.By addressing these difficulties and following the recommended policies society may embrace a more holistic and compassionate approach to healthcare that considers mental health as an essential part of well-being.


To truly prioritise the well-being of individuals, it is crucial to integrate mental health into national health policy. The separation of mental health from general health policy has perpetuated stigma,hindered access to care, and neglected adequate funding. By recognising mental health as an integral part of overall health, we can create a society that prioritises comprehensive care, reduces stigma, and fosters a healthier future for all. It is time to unite mental health and general health policies, ensuring that no individual is left behind.

Deepali Kataria
Research Intern