In the West’s defense: Why mental illness may not be “more” there

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It’s a common notion/stereotype for a lot of us Indians to assume from pop culture (movies, sitcoms, novels) that the U.S is has a lot of spoilt rich people with expensive therapists who they talk to about feelings of hopelessness despite living a comfortable life, and pop anti depressants before they go to sleep. This strengths our stereotype that mental illness is for the rich and wealthy and hence makes us judge people who seek help as “entitled” and “priveleged”.

Possible mistakes while assuming this:

  1. There is a taboo against mental illness in India- There is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, and since most people believe in theistic therapies, they take their friends/family/relatives to temples and superstitious gurus. However, abroad, there is relatively less emphasis on/faith theistic therapy than there is in India.
  2.  We have much less mental health facilities and trained professionals here to treat these issues as compared to the U.S and therefore most mental illnesses go untreated.

Therefore, because of the above two problems, mental health issues are underreported in India.

Which means that mental illness is not the illness of the rich, but can affect anyone regardless of their class. Rich countries have more cases of mental illness because of relatively more reporting of mental health issues.

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