According to the study, Indians' mental health worsened between 2020 and 2023 for all age groups (18–74), but mainly for those between the ages of 18 and 24.
A new series on mental health in India has been released by the Sapien Labs Centre for Human Brain and Mind at Krea University in India. The first report focuses on the mental health of young people, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24, who speak English as their first language and frequently use the internet.
This study examines how this group’s mental health has altered since the Covid-19 pandemic started in 2020.
As part of the Global Mind Project, they gathered information from 1,06,427 individuals in 36 States and Union Territories between April 2020 and August 2023. It is acknowledged as the biggest study in India.
According to the study, Indians’ mental health worsened between 2020 and 2023 for all age groups (18–74), but mainly for those between the ages of 18 and 24.
The mental health scores for Indians across age categories decreased nearly two years after the pandemic that decreased social connections, raised unemployment rates, and increased usage of the internet and social media. Ages 18 to 24 experience the greatest drop.
Given that the findings are the same regardless of income level, the study does not directly attribute these losses to economic variables. Results hold true regardless of income level.
Compared to other age groups, there is less diversity in mental health among those between the ages of 18 and 24 between states. In terms of mental health, Tamil Nadu and Kerala perform better than the northern states.
The study underlines the necessity to identify early risk factors in order to guide prevention initiatives, notwithstanding talks about academic stress and economic considerations. Even among the highly educated, English-speaking, and internet-capable youth in India, which has over 200 million young people, effective labour market entry may present difficulties.
Given the severity of the issue, Shailender Swaminathan, the director of Sapien Labs Centre for the Human Brain and Mind in India, argues that a proactive approach to mental health may be required.
What we can do
The “Demographic Dividend” for India, the youth, are experiencing growing post-Covid misery across states in India.
For instance, in a previously released global report, it was found that that delaying the adoption of smartphones is associated with better mental health outcomes for 18 to 24-year-olds.
The current policy paradigm aims to manage and treat mental health conditions by providing access to crisis interventions and psychosocial support. According to Shailender Swaminathan, a more preventative strategy may be required given the size and complexity of the issue.