Abstract

According to the estimates by the World Health Organization, the global burden of mental illness is likely to increase to 15% by 2020. (WHO, a call for action by World Health Ministers, 2001) Further, one in four people is affected by any kind of mental disorder. In India, where 150 million people need mental care, only 30 million are being treated or taken care of. (National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015) There is a pressing need for immediate interventions on the behalf of academicians, researchers, government and policymakers. India, where there is a dearth of medical workers especially in Mental Healthcare, our understanding of it becomes more critical. Our National Mental Health Policy, 2014 and the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 address the current mental health challenges of people. Addressing mental health issues through peer support is one of the best ways to cope with several mental health challenges. Services or experiences are there shared by people who had any kind of mental illness in the past. Peer support services can help in breaking down the stigmas and social isolation of the patients. The paper will explain both the global and Indian trends of peer support services in mental health. Further, it will also try to speculate different mental disorders and their targeted peer support services. It will also question the viability of having peer support services in India where there are social, economic challenges in accepting and treating mental illness.

Keywords: Peer support services, Mental Health, National Mental Health Policy, Mental Healthcare Act, Mental Health Care

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