Prevalence and socioeconomic impact of depressive disorders in India: multisite population-based cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2019 Jun 27;9(6):e027250. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027250.


Objectives: The National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) of India was undertaken with the objectives of (1) estimating the prevalence and patterns of various mental disorders in representative Indian population and (2) identifying the treatment gap, healthcare utilisation, disabilities and impact of mental disorders. This paper highlights findings pertaining to depressive disorders (DD) from the NMHS.

Design: Multisite population-based cross-sectional study. Subjects were selected by multistage stratified random cluster sampling technique with random selection based on probability proportionate to size at each stage.

Setting: Conducted across 12 states in India (representing varied cultural and geographical diversity), employing uniform, standardised and robust methodology.

Participants: A total of 34 802 adults (>18 years) were interviewed.

Main outcome measure: Prevalence of depressive disorders (ICD-10 DCR) diagnosed using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview V.6.0.

Results: The weighted prevalence of lifetime and current DD was 5.25% (95% CI: 5.21% to 5.29%, n=34 802) and 2.68% (95% CI: 2.65% to 2.71%, n=34 802), respectively. Prevalence was highest in the 40-59 age groups (3.6%, n=10 302), among females (3.0%, n=18 217) and those residing in cities with population >1 million (5.2%, n=4244). Age, gender, place of residence, education and household income were found to be significantly associated with current DD. Nearly two-thirds of individuals with DD reported disability of varying severity, and the treatment gap for depression in the study population was 79.1%. On an average, households spent INR1500/month (~US$ 23.0/month) towards care of persons affected with DD.

Conclusion: Around 23 million adults would need care for DD in India at any given time. Since productive population is affected most, DD entails considerable socioeconomic impact at individual and family levels. This is a clarion call for all the concerned stakeholders to scale up services under National Mental Health Programme in India along with integrating care for DD with other ongoing national health programmes.

Keywords: India; depressive disorders; disability; national mental health survey; prevalence; socioeconomic impact.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / economics
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult