Why Indians are hesitant to accept mental health recommendations 2023
After telling her family she was homosexual, a Mumbai student sought counseling. My life was dreadful. I felt bad since my father disowned me. “I felt I let my family down,” Alina told DW under a pseudonym.
The 25-year-old felt dismissed, hesitant, and low self-esteem after getting therapy. My therapist advised me to apologize to my father since he wants what’s best for me. I felt shameful of my sexuality.” Alina quit therapy after two sessions.
“I now have a supportive queer community and a better therapist,” Alina said. “Many counselors and therapists advertise as queer-friendly but are not. This is detrimental to many people’s mental health, especially those from conventional or restricting families.”
Indian same-sex marriage debate
The Indian Psychiatric Society supports equal rights as the Supreme Court of India discusses same-sex marriage. In 2018, the umbrella organization said that homosexuality was a natural sexuality and not a disease and that LGBTQIA+ people should be treated equally.
Some practitioners hold antiquated sexuality ideas.
Raj Mariwala, head of the Mariwala Health Initiative, says psy professions are traditionally rooted on societal standards, and therapies were designed to correct or punish.
“Hysteria was diagnosed in women. It remains. cis heterosexual and able-bodied. “The discipline has not looked beyond making practitioners structurally competent, and there are massive gaps in care,” he told DW.
Rising mental health awareness
The WHO estimates 56 million Indians have depression and 38 million have anxiety disorders. Urban India is raising mental health awareness. UnivDatos Market Insights predicts 15% yearly growth in the mental health business from 2022 to 2028.
Sriram, 30, told his doctor why he never had children. “After a few sessions, she said I didn’t want kids because I was selfish. I didn’t realize its significance. “I didn’t realize how bad my experience was until I saw a different therapist,” he told DW.
“She dismissed my porn addiction as normal. She’s unrecommended. “She often told me about other patients, which meant she told others about me,” he added.
Harini Prasad, a consultant psychologist at Chinmaya Mission Hospital, told DW that therapists should support clients’ decisions, including being single or childless. “But if a counselor hasn’t identified their biases and taken supervision, judgments can creep into the work.”
Adult media professional Ritika tested for ADHD. A mental health clinic gave her pricey and time-consuming behavioural evaluation tests that did not reveal the illness. She was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and moderate depression, which she was already treating.
“I have struggled with neurodivergency my entire life, and I finally sought out the evaluation when every aspect of my life was affected,” Ritika said. But the psychologist I contacted knew nothing about the illness. These examinations also damaged me.
It indicated I had problems communicating and developing connections. I’m a communications professional with a good support system and a 10-year relationship. I don’t know the assessment’s source. Talking to me would have yielded more. It was worthless and harmful.”
Ritika was told she “did not qualify” for ADHD after questioning its absence. She felt the procedure left her upset and invalidated.
She had a better experience after consulting a suggested specialist. “Now I only seek professionals who come personally recommended by someone I trust,” she continued.
The Indian Mental Health Care Act of 2017 allows service complaints.
MHI has educated 500 Indian mental health practitioners in Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice. Its website lists course graduates. “Queer, caste, disability-friendly cannot be limited to one course. “Professionals should practice allyship and update themselves regularly,” it states.
Professionals advise against avoiding “bad therapy.”
“Clients must trust their feelings around therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists. Not everyone needs help from the same individual. Ask the counsellor about their credentials, methods, and consent policy. “Most importantly, you—the client—should feel respected, your choices are respected, and communication is respectful,” added Prasad.