Thursday, July 18, 2024
Editorial

Depressing

The United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of World Population-2024 shows that more than two-thirds (68%) of India’s population comprises people between the ages of 15 and 64 ~ considered the working population of a country. Making the most of the demographic dividend that the country will experience over the next two decades will depend on education, skill development and opportunity creation, particularly for women and young people from underprivileged backgrounds. Nonetheless, a significant cause for concern pertains to the diminishing rates of female workforce involvement. According to data from the World Bank, the percentage of Indian women working fell from 32% in 2005 to 19% in 2021. This is a major factor in the nation being slow in using its sizeable working-age population. India’s fertility rate has been declining over time. It achieved a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.0 for the first time, less than the replacement norm of 2.1, according to the National Family Health 5 Survey (2019-21). The country’s population will probably begin to fall closer to 2050 at this rate. According to the 2011 Census, there were 365 million young people in the country between the ages of 10 and 24. By 2023, that number was expected to rise to 379 million. In a nation whose youth population is the largest, developing policies that work for the massive labour force is essential. Being the most populous nation might inspire missed feelings, but it would be foolish not to acknowledge it as an immense burden. The collective journey of one billion and fifty million Indians is the story of India’s growth. With a burgeoning young population, Nagaland also holds considerable promise for economic growth, innovation and social transformation. This promise is not without difficulties, though. More than ever, it is critical to give mental health among the youth top priority by the State administration. This emphasis is crucial for the State’s sustainable growth and social cohesion in addition to being a public health issue. With more than 350 million individuals under 30, India has one of the biggest youth populations in the world. Its youth are lively and dynamic. This group constitutes a vital resource in Nagaland, too. However, there is a serious threat to this population’s mental health. The figures are alarming: one in seven Indians suffer from mental health problems, which frequently begin in childhood. This is a much greater percentage than the global average. In India, there is a startlingly large treatment gap for mental diseases, with rates ranging from 70% to 92% for different conditions. This gap can have much more detrimental effects on young people. The youth mental health problem is caused by a number of reasons. A significant part is played by social variables such as gender inequality, caste, class and poverty. These are made worse in Nagaland by particular regional difficulties like the State’s remote location and restricted access to mental healthcare. Furthermore, the stresses of contemporary life ~ such as the demands of school, joblessness, substance misuse and the ubiquitous influence of social media ~ exacerbate mental health problems among the youth. In addition to diminishing a person’s quality of life, poor mental health also limits their potential in the social and economic spheres. It has an impact on their capacity to make wise choices. Ignoring this problem could result in Nagaland losing out on the potential of its youthful population, which would have long-term socio-economic effects. It is imperative to create and execute a mental health policy that is focused on youth. This strategy should be comprehensive, addressing the particular requirements of many communities within the State, with an emphasis on treatment, early intervention and prevention. It is against this backdrop that Nagaland Government’s ongoing case pertaining to State Mental Health Rules and Mental Health Review Board in the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court makes for depressing news. Enhancing the availability of mental health care is imperative, even more so in isolated and rural locations. Improving the wellbeing of its youthful populace will naturally translate into fortification of the State’s future.

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