Mental health- a term in India that has widespread stigma and discrimination attached to it. India being a developing country, has the highest prevalence of mental illnesses more than any other country in the world. 

According to the National Mental Health Survey, more than 13% of Indians will experience “deteriorated” mental health at some point in their lives

It is no surprise then that there are many common mental health illnesses that Indians suffer from. 

Here are some of the most common ones: 


The World Health Organization’s data shows that at least 57 million people in India are affected by depression.

Some early signs of depression include:

  • Constant sadness for prolonged periods of time.
  • Loss of interest in personal and social activities.
  • Low self-worth
  • Erratic sleep cycles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in daily activities

Each of these activities can harm a person in different ways. It can affect their school and office work as well as many other areas of their life. 

If depression progresses and becomes severe – suicidal thoughts and actions may set in.

Hence, support from friends and family and therapy from health experts are a must. 

Anxiety Disorders-

There are many forms of anxiety disorders. According to the National Mental Health Survey data, phobic anxiety disorders (anxiety as a result of intense fear) account for nearly 2% of the disease burden in India, and other anxiety disorders make up for an additional 1.2%. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) makes up for 0.8% of the disease burden in India. 

Those living with anxiety disorders may feel irritable, restless, anger and difficulty in concentrating or sleeping. 

It should be noted that to some extent, anxiety is a normal emotion in situations that provoke fear or excitement. However, when the frequency or intensity of such anxiety spikes, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. 

Anxiety disorders can be managed with therapies that help relieve stress. Previous studies have shown that behavioural and psychological therapy has positive results, clinically.


Schizophrenia is a kind of psychotic mental disorder. Here, a person is not in touch with reality and often sees, feels or hears things that do not actually exist. 

Such people also show emotional and behavioral imbalance like laughing without a reason and mumbling. 

Schizophrenia is best treated with medication. Psychosocial support can also help greatly. However, as this illness progresses, patients often tend to become reluctant to take medical help.

Bipolar Disorder-

Bipolar is a disorder that is associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Such a disorder is characterized by:

  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Irritation
  • Loud speech
  • Increased activity and decreased sleeping time

Medicines, psychological therapy and support from friends, family and society can help to manage this condition.

Eating Disorder-

Though such a disorder is more prevalent in the West, Indian teens are also falling prey to such a condition. 

However, there are no official figures for the same. 

Both, eating too much and too little come under this disorder. 

Anorexia nervosa which is self-starvation and Bulimia nervosa which is binge eating followed by purging or vomiting, and then a period of starvation and excessive physical activity are a few examples of eating disorders.

Eating disorders have strong psychological connections and need to be controlled from an early stage itself. 

Awareness, nutritional guidance and psychotherapy can help treat eating disorders. Doctors may also prescribe medicines in case of severe cases.

In conclusion, it is important that we take note of or recognise such signs for each of these disorders and help those in need. Most people often miss such signs and symptoms of mental disturbances. Hence, psychoeducation and systematic understanding or awareness about these illnesses is imperative. 



Sakshi is a Psychologist with expertise in research and writing, she can make the most complex topic sound simple! She has completed MSC in Counselling Studies from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Also, She loves books and music and forgets the world once earphones are plugged in.