ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Sensitivity of Mental Health Systems

The NCRB data on suicides by daily wage earners underscore the social structural determinants of mental well-being.

Sudarshan R Kottai writes:

In the National Crime Records Bureau report 2021 on suicides, daily wage earners topped the list. Although the report listed the causes of suicide as family problems, bankruptcy, unemployment, poverty, etc, it failed to comprehend such a tragedy in terms of the helplessness caused by the pandemic which was aggravated, among other things, by state indifference and its negligence of migrant workers—a form of moral violence. It is needless to mention that migrant daily wage workers were victims of such a health disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic culminating in the largest human rights violation in independent India. The narratives of such violations were heartbreaking crossing all limits of humanism as people fell to death on highways in their desperate efforts to reach home by covering thousands of kilometres. The dolorous experience was reflected through writings and filing of petitions in the constitutional courts by activists and scholars. Yet, mainstream mental health systems shied away from offering public empathy to migrant daily wage workers. Although some mental health professionals provided free counselling and psychiatric drugs, what was needed instead was to make concrete and consistent efforts towards catapulting transformative systemic action with a mindful regard to social injustice that dominates the disruptive fabric of their everyday life.

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Updated On : 17th Sep, 2022
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