Kerala, India: Families in rural India can’t afford to pay for mental health services.
In a country where about 10% of the population suffers from depression, suicide, anxiety and other mental health issues, it’s not surprising that many of them have not sought help from the state and government.
This week, a family in a village in the state of Kerala, which is considered to be one of the poorest in the country, decided to fight for the right to health care.
The family, headed by a single mother who had recently quit her job, decided on the spot to pay Rs2,500 ($4,600) to an NGO for a private clinic.
But the local health officer told the family it would be impossible to find a private doctor for the clinic.
“There are no facilities to provide care.
I am going to pay to pay,” the mother told reporters.
“But I cannot afford to do that.
There is a lack of funding,” the woman, who is a mother of three children, added.”
The government has made it clear that we have to pay money to a private facility for treatment.
But why can’t we afford to?” asked the mother.
The family had paid the clinic’s registration fee in 2014.
However, it was only for the last three months of this year, and the amount of money they had been paying to the government had doubled to Rs5,000 ($8,400).
The mother had also asked the local district hospital to take care of her family.
But instead of accepting her request, the district hospital refused to do so.
“I am not going to get a referral from any other doctor.
I will get help from my family if I have to, but they will not do that,” she added.
The mother is one of several families who have paid for mental healthcare in rural Kerala.
In the last two years, at least 30 families have paid their way through the private clinic, with another 12 families seeking private treatment at a community clinic.
The government has yet to respond to the families’ complaints and has said it would take action against the people who had paid money to private clinics.
Kerala, one of India’s poorest states, has the fourth-highest suicide rate in the world.
About 25% of Indians commit suicide every year.
According to the United Nations, around two-thirds of suicides are linked to mental illness.
The state is also one of only three states in India that do not have universal access to mental health treatment.
The local health officials said they were trying to find alternatives for the mentally ill.
“We have been working with the community health department for the past three years, but there is no alternative for us to provide treatment,” said the district health officer.
The parents said they felt helpless when they could not pay for their daughter’s treatment.
“When I had money, I could buy her medication,” the father, who has been a resident of the village for about 10 years, said.
“If I had more money, she could have been treated by someone in her own village, who would have been able to help her.”
In a country that has witnessed an increase in suicide rates and domestic violence, the lack of mental health provision can be a problem.
In many villages, the only way to get mental health help is by going to a clinic run by a private organization.
But many people in Kerala do not know where to go for help.
“For us, it is a personal decision.
We can’t do anything about it,” the parent said.