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 2005 report by the National Commission of Macroeconomics and Health revealed that nearly 60 million people—more than 5% of India’s population suffer from mental health issues. India has only 3,000 psychiatrists and 453 mental hospitals and we spend only 0.06% of its health budget on mental healthcare.
Talk about it; it is just like any other body ailment ....