The rise in uncertainty and anxiety that came hand in hand with Covid-19 has brought about a strong focus on the issue of mental health. People are primed to talk about cause for stress, anxiety, solutions that are available, and where they can seek professional help. The scale of the problem has never been bigger, and in the ‘New Normal’ all the stakeholders are now getting actively involved in their conversations, and how these affect the different aspects of their lives.
A recent study called ‘New Health Normal’ by Aditya Birla Health Insurance reveals that:
-While 89% of the people in India believe that mental health consulting should be included in their health insurance policy, 35% of Indians believed that consumers were hesitant of reaching out to mental health experts because of the cost implication;
-More than one in every four respondents (29%) claim that either their close friends or family or they themselves have reached out to medical experts for mental health issues
-In the ‘New Normal’ when people are still hesitant about visiting a mental health expert, nearly 68% respondents believe they would be very concerned about what people think
Millennials, the champions of mental health
The data further unveils that, one in every three millennial respondents (33%) claims they know someone who has reached out to a mental health expert, understanding that there is less stigma around the issue; the number drops to 22% for Gen Z. Furthermore, more than one in every five millennials (23%) does not even believe that people are hesitant about visiting mental health experts, compared to 16% of Gen X, and 17% of those over 45.
Millennials most likely take mental health seriously post Covid-19, compared to other cohorts.
Understanding hesitation among men and women in seeking mental health experts
The survey sheds light on the multifaceted reasons behind hesitancy in seeking mental health experts during the 'New Health Normal’. Financial concerns, societal judgment, limited awareness, and misconceptions about public perception emerged as the key factors contributing to this hesitation.
Approximately 35% of respondents cited cost as a significant factor contributing to their hesitation in seeking mental health support. This concern was relatively higher among females (42%) compared to males (31%). The financial burden associated with professional mental health services seems to be a deterrent for some individuals.
A noteworthy 68% of participants expressed deep concern about what others might think if they sought help from a mental health expert. This fear of societal judgment was consistent among both males (69%) and females (67%). The pervasive stigma surrounding mental health issues still poses a significant barrier to seeking professional support.
Lack of Awareness:
Around 50% of respondents, regardless of gender, admitted that they faced difficulty in finding authentic and credible mental health experts. This lack of knowledge on how to search for reliable professionals could contribute to hesitation in seeking help. It highlights the importance of improving accessibility and providing resources to guide individuals in finding trustworthy mental health support.
Misconception of Public Perception:
Surprisingly, a notable 19% of respondents believed that people are no longer hesitant about visiting mental health experts. This perception was slightly higher among males (20%) compared to females (17%). This finding suggests a potential underestimation of the ongoing barriers and hesitations that individuals still face when seeking mental health assistance.
The ‘New Health Normal’ survey was based on face-to-face interviews conducted by Aditya Birla Health Insurance with 6,651 respondents of all ages across 9 metros, including Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Lucknow, and 10 other cities - Rajkot, Nasik, Nagpur, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Indore, Coimbatore, Kochi, Patna, and Guwahati.