They don't shy away from treatment now

They don't shy away from treatment now

More and more people in city meet their psychiatrists as awareness rises

Delhi's better off working women are increasingly making that trip to the psychiatrist's clinic.

“Having control over the money they earn, they avail of more healthcare than women of an earlier generation. This includes mental healthcare too,” says Poornima Manchanda, a west Delhi-based psychologist.

It is common understanding that women do not make use of mental health facilities as much as men, even though the rates of depression among them is twice that in men. Psychiatrists say the higher rates are due to biological reasons, including hormonal changes.

However, the educated section of the society is correcting this imbalance. Awareness of mental disorders has increased. People realise that work stress does lead to problems like depression and hypertension.

“The stigma in the middle and the upper middle class has reduced considerably. I receive patients who come with the in-laws to look for solutions to problems like irrational anger, short-tempered behaviour and anxiety.

Lifestyle mental health concerns are helping change the situation for those who can pay,” says Dr Rupal Srivastava, a psychiatrist with a private practice in south Delhi.

People do not like to be called patients of depression or any other disorder even if they take medication for it. “I just went for counselling. This does not make me a patient.

I have been given some common pills,” says Akanksha Joshi, a corporate lawyer who sought psychiatric help as she could not manage the demands of her household along with a hectic work schedule.

But people seeking help say they go to a counsellor only when in dire need because private doctors are expensive in the city.

“Government facilities are meant for acute problems of the lower and lower middle class. Lifestyle diseases, unless they turn very bad, do not get the desired attention.

So we have to go to private practitioners. But then that is too costly. So one goes only when it is extremely needed,” sys Ruchika, a human resource developer with an NGO.

The fee differs from area to area. A practitioner just starting in south Delhi charges somewhere between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 per session.

Usually the package is of 12 sessions spread over three months. West Delhi is cheaper with a psychiatrist of the same profile charging Rs 1,000. Discounts are available – if the entire money is paid in advance and one has committed to the full duration.

Rates in east Delhi vary. Posh areas like Mayur Vihar and Vasundhara Enclave have rates similar to south Delhi. But charges at other places range between Rs 750 and Rs 1,200 for a session.

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