Have you ever wondered how does someone in India, carrying the stigma of “mental illness” be it clinical depression or recovering schizophrenic ever get married? As such, we in India live in denial. We simply do not accept the fact that one amongst us could have a mental illness. Any mental ailment, is simply termed as “mad.”
But there is one psychiatrist who has the compassion to understand this dilemma and has started a website – www.manomarriage.com - a matrimonial website to bring together functional adults who, on account of their mental or physical disabilities, are seen as ‘bad marriage material’.
The membership is free, open for users across India and, unlike the traditional portals, does not define the user by caste or religion. All one needs is to back-up his/her illness and capacity to sustain a marriage by a psychiatrist. They then get access to a database of single men and women from across India who have undergone a similar vetting process. A pre- marriage counselling is done by the treating doctor, who is also to be involved in their subsequent medication and treatment. Even after four years of registering this site, till date a little over 40 people have signed up from places like Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai.
See, how uncomfortable we feel even while reading this article? That is how we somehow view any mental illness – it is a truth which we do not accept and when confronted, we get uncomfortable.
Here is some statistics to show that it is rampant - a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that 7.5% of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental disorder. Mental illnesses constitute one-sixth of all health-related disorders and India accounted for nearly 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance abuse disorder burden. The treatment gap, which is defined as the prevalence of mental illnesses and the proportion of patients that get treatment, is over 70 per cent. WHO also predicts that by 2020, roughly 20% of India will suffer from mental illnesses. And to cater to this demographic, we have less than 4,000 mental health professionals.
Talk about it; it is just like any other body ailment ....