Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 161-165

Rapid urbanization - Its impact on mental health: A South Asian perspective


Department of Psychiatry, CSM Medical University (Earlier KG Medical University), Lucknow - 226 003, India

Correspondence Address:
Jitendra K Trivedi
Department of Psychiatry, CSM Medical University, (Earlier K.G. Medical University), Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.43623

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Rapid increase in urban population as a proportion of total population is resulting in rapid urbanization of the world. By the end of 2008, a majority of the world's population will be living in the cities. This paradigm shift in the dynamics of human population is attracting attention of demographers, sociologists, scientists, and politicians alike. Urbanization brings with it a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Though it is driving the economies of most of the nations of the world, a serious concern regarding the impact of urbanization on mental health is warranted. The impact of urbanization on mental health in South-Asian countries needs to be examined. These countries by virtue of their developing economies and a significant proportion of population still living below poverty line are particularly vulnerable and tend to have a higher burden of diseases with an already compromised primary health care delivery system. The range of disorders and deviancies associated with urbanization is enormous and includes psychoses, depression, sociopathy, substance abuse, alcoholism, crime, delinquency, vandalism, family disintegration, and alienation. Thus, it is a heterogenous mix of problems and categorizing them to one particular subtype seems daunting and undesirable. Urbanization is affecting the entire gamut of population especially the vulnerable sections of society - elderly, children and adolescents, and women. Rapid urbanization has also led to creation of "fringe population" mostly living from hand to mouth which further adds to poverty. Poverty and mental health have a complex and multidimensional relationship. Urban population is heavily influenced by changing cultural dynamics leading to particular psychiatric problems like depression, alcoholism, and delinquency. Judicious use of resources, balanced approach to development, and sound government policies are advocated for appropriate growth of advancing economies of South-Asian region.



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