New Delhi: Practo, India’s leading integrated healthcare company, witnessed a sharp rise of 665% in the number of mental health queries since last year. This is almost 5x the growth witnessed the year before. More than two-thirds of the queries were from Indians in the age group of 21-40. While anxiety, stress, and panic attacks were some of the most commonly discussed topics, bipolar disorder and depression increased significantly in the last six months.
According to the Practo Health Insights (Oct 2019- Sep 2020),
- 35% of all queries were from non-metro cities, recording a growth of 1200% since last year
- 65% of the queries were from metro cities which grew by over 500% since last year
- 70% of all mental health-related consults came from men, while 30% were from women
- Most of the queries were from Bangalore, followed by Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata
- In Non-metro cities, most of the queries came from Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Hubli, Kanpur, and Ahmedabad
COVID-19 and mental health
The last six months have presented a major challenge for people living with mental health conditions and there has been a drastic increase in the number of people screened for anxiety and depression. Online Consultations for mental health on Practo queries grew by 180% in the last six months alone. In addition to the already existing mental health conditions, many people are experiencing complex emotions due to stress, isolation, anxiety, grief, and more.
Perceived stigma and lack of understanding of the various disorders are two of the most significant barriers to patients’ access to mental healthcare. In light of this, and to ensure Indians have access to quality healthcare, Practo today announced the launch of an online campaign – #TalkTherapy. In addition to videos, collaterals and other efforts towards raising awareness, the company has introduced three new packages so Indians can consult with mental health experts seamlessly and affordably. Consumers can log on to the Practo app or go to the website to buy these packages:
|Cost||Rs 599||Rs 999||Rs 1598|
|Validity||One session||One month||Three months|
Dr. Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Healthcare Strategy Officer, Practo, said, “It’s important to reduce the negative stigma associated with mental healthcare. Telemedicine has played an important role in the mental health response, especially in the last six months, but its full potential is yet to be unlocked. The key is to talk and seek timely help, and with the launch of this campaign, we aim to do just that – encourage people to seek help, and consult experts affordably, safely, while keeping their privacy and anonymity intact.”
Dr.Amrit Pattojoshi, Professor Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital, Direct Council Member of The Indian Psychiatric Society, said, “In the midst of a global pandemic crisis, a lot of people are suffering from mental health problems. It is being reported that services to mental health are getting disrupted globally while the demand has been constantly increasing over the last few months. For a lot of people, things like loneliness and isolation are new experiences. When coupled with work stress and health concerns, everyone is suffering from some form of mental health issue. While in-person counseling sessions might not always be possible during this time, people can consult psychiatrists and psychologists via online through platforms like Practo. It is important to talk to a mental health professional at the right time so that it can be dealt with at an early stage.”
The insights report highlights important ailments and consultation related trends in the country. The information is aggregated, anonymized, and analyzed at scale. We hope these findings better equip our healthcare providers to understand disease patterns and address them effectively and help others become aware of their options when looking to address their healthcare needs.