The number of people seeking treatment for mental health issues at the Centre for Mental Health has increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching more than 13,000 cases so far in 2021, official data showed.
The Centre for Mental Health debuted in the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in 2019 as part of the current government’s 100-day pledges.
In 2019, 7,246 people sought treatment at the IGMH’s mental health centre, according to data released on World Mental Health Day 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number has risen dramatically, with 17,708 people seeking treatment for mental health issues in 2020 and 13,131 so far in 2021.
The highest number of mental health cases reported in a single month occurred in April-June 2020, when a lockdown was declared in Greater Male’ owing to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Since April 2020, the number of patients seeking treatment at IGMH’s mental health centre grew significantly, reaching a total of 2,165 mental health cases by June 2020. There was a small decline in mental health cases after that, with an average of 1,500 cases each month.
According to IGMH data, the number of mental health cases recorded in 2021 has been rather high from the year’s start. The number of such cases reported in the first few months of the previous two years averaged less than 800, while the number of reported mental health cases has been over 1,400 since the beginning of 2021 through May. After June 2021, there was a modest decrease in recorded cases of mental health issues, but they are presently on the rise again.
IGMH has always had a large waiting list of patients seeking treatment from the mental health centre; presently, about 2,600 people are on the waiting list. The mental health centre’s large waiting list is due to a lack of equipment and people.
Four psychiatrists, three psychologists, and two psychotherapists now work at the mental health centre. There are also two social workers, two counsellors, and an occupational therapist on staff.
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