Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-14

Status and requirements of geriatric mental health services in India: An evidence-based commentary

Department of Geriatric Mental Health, Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University UP, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
S C Tiwari
Department of Geriatric Mental Health, Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University UP, Chowk, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.94639

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In view of appreciable improvements in health care services in India, the longevity and life expectancy have almost doubled. As a result, there is significant demographic transition, and the population of older adults in the country is growing rapidly. Epidemiological surveys have revealed enormous mental health morbidity in older adults (aged 60 years and above) and have necessitated immediate need for the development of mental health services in India. The present population of older adults was used to calculate psychiatric morbidity based on the reported epidemiological data. The demographic and social changes, health care planning, available mental health care services and morbidity data were critically examined and analyzed. The service gap was calculated on the basis of available norms for the country vis-à-vis average mental health morbidity. Data from a recent epidemiological study indicated an average of 20.5% mental health morbidity in older adults. Accordingly, it was found that, at present, 17.13 million older adults (total population, 83.58 millions) are suffering from mental health problems in India. A differing, but in many aspects similar, picture emerged with regard to human resource and infrastructural requirements based on the two norms for the country to meet the challenges posed by psychiatrically ill older adults. A running commentary has been provided based on the available evidences and strategic options have been outlined to meet the requirements and minimize the gap. There is an urgent need to develop the subject and geriatric mental health care services in India.



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