Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI/PNN): Mental health illness is an unaddressed issue in India. One in every five Indians suffers from some kind of mental health issue, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates.
Covid-19 pandemic and the extended lockdown in 2020 only served to worsen the situation. Along with the concerns about physical health, came isolation and depression due to long periods of social disconnection during the extended lockdown, anxiety related to fear of losing jobs, and an increase in stress due to having to cope with the new normal.
Mental illnesses constitute one-sixth of all health-related disorders, and India accounted for nearly 15 per cent of the global mental, neurological, and substance abuse disorder burden (Source: WHO). A National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) 2015-16 report further revealed that the treatment gap--the presence of mental illnesses and the proportion of people who had access to treatment--was over 70 per cent.
These are alarming numbers and yet, most people want to stay quiet about it. The subject continues to be viewed under a lens of stigma. Most people suffering from mental health issues live in denial, and receive very little support from family and friends. It's about time this changes.
As a brand whose purpose is to be a lifetime partner for the customers, and to lead with empathy, human touch, and innovation, Future Generali has taken a huge step in this direction by undertaking multiple initiatives to drive awareness and education around the issue of mental health.
The starting point was an introduction of a health insurance cover that includes mental health. Acknowledging the prevalence of the mental health problem and its seriousness, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has stated that insurers should keep mental illness at par with physical illness in regular health insurance coverage. Future Generali India Insurance has taken this a step further.
"Most health insurance policies in the Indian market cover only hospitalisation treatment. However, in the context of mental health, most people start their treatment through consultations with medical practitioners on an outpatient department (OPD) consultation basis. Mental health experts tell us that less than 1 per cent of the patients require hospitalisation. In order to be truly effective in taking care of mental illness treatment, policies that cover OPD treatment are the most desirable and the need of the hour. And this is exactly what our Health Total Policy offers," said Ruchika Varma, CMO, Future Generali Insurance.
The all-new Future Generali Health Total insurance policy comes as a breath of fresh air in these challenging times. The cover understands the gravity of the problem and is a positive action, which will encourage more people to talk about mental illness as well as seek treatment for it. The policy covers in-patient hospitalization for mental illness. Notably, OPD treatment for mental illness is also covered under the superior and premiere plans of this policy.
The Future Generali Health Total insurance policy covers a sum up to Rs 1 crore. People can avail a discount of about 15 per cent. And if the sum insured has been exhausted, the amount for that year will be restored, subject to terms and conditions. With a vast network of 6,000+ hospitals that offer cashless choices, you no longer have to worry about arranging cash urgently at a time of need. The incorporation of mental health in the policy is a welcome move--prior to this coverage was offered based on factors such as data and cost.
Future Generali India Insurance has also undertaken other initiatives beyond the product. The brand started the conversation on mental health issues with its #HealthInsideOut campaign, which aims to de-stigmatize the issue by showing that it's a common problem; create realization that some of these seemingly common-place symptoms could be signs of mental illness, and educate people that help is available, whether it's medical or financial.
Approaching the delicate topic with a touch of light-heartedness, the brand showed inanimate objects such as a torn stress ball, a broken vase, a pillow, etc, complaining in a human voice about being treated harshly by their owners--a sign that mental health experts say could be an early symptom of underlying mental health issues.
"During our multiple conversations with mental health experts and the affected parties we found that the first manifestation of mental health issues is inflicted on inanimate objects. Humanising such objects, our campaign tells a compelling story from their perspective, urging the audience to seek timely help and realize the gravity of these issues," said Ruchika Varma.
In order to get people to start taking their mental health as seriously as their physical health, Future Generali also created the Total Health Score, roping in over 25 celebrity fitness influencers including Shilpa Shetty and Mandira Bedi to participate in the test to assess their well-being.
"We created the Total Health Score, a simple assessment tool which is available on our website and mobile app, with the help of practising therapists and counsellors, who understand the early signs of potential mental health issues. Once you complete the assessment, you are attributed a score that outlines your mental wellness quotient, and also indicated potential issues or mental wellness concerns that you may be going through at the moment," Ruchika Varma added.
"Future Generali wants to lead the narrative on mental health and transform this into a movement. Going forward, we plan to roll out multiple initiatives around mental health and well-being, be it differentiated and innovative product propositions, services or partnerships to support customers," said Ruchika Varma.
With influencers and campaigns that unabashedly talk about mental health, tools that help people analyze their mental and physical health status, and inclusive health insurance covers such as Total Health, Future Generali hopes to spark a change in the mindset of people and help them address the elephant in the room.
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