MANAS Mobile App | 15 Apr 2021

Why in News

Recently, the government of India launched a mobile app, MANAS (Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System) to promote mental wellbeing across age groups.

  • MANAS was endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
    • PM-STIAC: It is an overarching Council that facilitates the Principal Scientific Adviser’s Office to assess the status in specific science and technology domains, comprehend challenges in hand, formulate specific interventions, develop a futuristic roadmap and advise the Prime Minister accordingly.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform and an app developed to augment mental well-being of Indian citizens.
    • It integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces developed/researched by various national bodies and research institutions.
    • It is based on life skills and core psychological processes, with universal accessibility, delivering age-appropriate methods and promoting positive attitude focusing on wellness.
  • Developed By:
  • Beneficiaries:
    • Catering to the overall wellbeing of people of all age groups, the initial version of MANAS focuses on promoting positive mental health in the age group of 15-35 years.
  • Aim:
    • To build a healthier and happier community, to empower it to nurture its innate potential for building a Swasth and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Motto of MANAS:
    • Uttam Mann, Saksham Jan.

Mental Health in India

  • Data Analysis: A report published in The Lancet Psychiatry in February 2020 indicates that in 2017, there were 197.3 million people with mental disorders in India.
    • The top mental illnesses were depressive disorder (45.7 million) and anxiety disorder (44.9 million).
    • The contribution of mental disorders to the total Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in India increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.
      • Depressive disorder and anxiety disorder contributed the most to the total mental disorders DALYs.
      • DALYs: The burden of disability associated with a disease or disorder can be measured in units called DALYs.
        • DALYs represent the total number of years lost to illness, disability, or premature death within a given population.
  • Other Indian Initiatives to Improve Mental Health:
    • The Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) 2017:
    • KIRAN:
      • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline to provide support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.
    • Manodarpan Initiative:
      • Manodarpan is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
      • It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.
      • It is a one-stop source of data on mental health centres and professionals. It is developed by the NIMHANS.

Way Forward

  • Although developing apps to cater mental well-being of citizens on scalable, secure and digital platforms is the need of the hour the app must be integrated with the public health schemes like the National Health Mission, Poshan Abhiyan, e-Sanjeevani and others so that it is used widely. Besides, the application must be made multi-lingual.
  • Increasing the number of psychologists and psychiatrists, and Apps alone won’t help. Stigma and awareness are two separate issues although interlinked. They need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness.