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Pandemic worsens India's mental health misery

Social disapproval is 'enemy No. 1' for sufferers needing therapy

A girl sells balloons on a beach in Mumbai in November. Roughly 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million have anxiety disorders, according to the World Health Organization.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Shweta Jaitley, a New Delhi-based schoolteacher, was rushed to the hospital in early 2020 after apparently suffering a heart attack. The doctor's diagnosis took everyone by surprise. It was a panic attack.

"The doctor said my high-stress life -- a demanding job, three kids, elderly care -- had taken a toll on my health," says Jaitley, 35. "Apart from medications, I was also advised to see a psychologist. But therapy? No way. People would probably think I'm a lunatic!"

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