Dog insurance. Cover mental illness under life insurance: Anand Sharma, Deccan Herald

Amid an "exponential growth" of mental health issues during Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Congress' Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday asked the government to put mental illness under the ambit of life insurance, as it will help people see it with the same lens as that of physical diseases. Life insurance from.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sharma said one in seven persons in the country are suffering from depression and the number of people affected by mental disorders and issues have risen during the pandemic and lockdown in the recent months.

Students and children are increasingly suffering from mental disorders and many of them were not able to access online study, non-availability of midday meals and fear of getting affected by Covid-19.

"The first and foremost reason is the lack of awareness and sensitivity among people. People suffering from mental disorders suffer from stigma. Any kind of mental disorders or illness demand an active policy intervention and resource allocation from the government. There should be a persistent effort to educate and sensitise society about mental disorders," he said.

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He demanded that mental disorders be "mandatorily" put under the ambit of life insurance and this will help people to see mental illness in the same lens as they see physical diseases.

Both the Centre and state governments need to evolve innovative modes to deepen penetration of services and set up helplines and counselling centres across the country, he added.

Samajwadi Party leader in Rajya Sabha Ramgopal Yadav also raised the issue of people committing suicide due to stress.

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"Many people are jobless after the Covid-19 induced lockdown and are going through stress. In the last 3-4 months in Noida alone, 44 people have committed suicide and 175 people have died," he said.

He asked the government to provide Rs 15,000 monthly allowance to those who lost jobs due to the lockdown to ensure they do not die of hunger.

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