Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 10 (PTI) Mental illness, apart from being a medical condition, is a social problem that is caused due to lack of food, shelter and education and therefore to tackle it the LDF government has implemented a number of schemes for welfare of the common man, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday.

In a Facebook post on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the CM said that studies have shown that poor human health as well as lack of proper food, shelter, and education, can have a detrimental effect on a person's mental health.

"Therefore, mental illness should be considered as a social problem as well. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) has always worked to understand the problem.

"In addition to implementing comprehensive mental health schemes, the LDF government has successfully implemented a number of schemes to ensure the welfare of the common man, including social welfare pensions, food kits, life scheme, distribution of leases, renovation of public schools and expansion of government hospitals," he said.

State health minister Veena George said that mental health literacy was essential as everyone pays attention to physical ailments and seek timely treatment for it, but most people are not able to diagnose mental health problems or seek scientific treatment.

Most people do not have an accurate understanding of mental health, she said at a seminar organised by the Department of Psychiatry of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, Kerala Chapter of Indian Psychiatric Society and Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

"About 12.8 per cent of the total population in Kerala has mental health problems that require scientific treatment. But only 15 percent of these people seek scientific treatment," she said in a release.

This is not because of a lack of treatment centers or medical facilities, but it is due to the fact that people are not availing the same she said and added that it was imperative that activities to spread awareness about mental health be intensified.

Giving details of the state government's plans to deal with the issue, the minister said that the health department was going to intensify mental health activities from the primary health level onwards.

At the same time, the activities of mental health centers and mental health departments in medical colleges will be strengthened and research on the issue would be given priority, she said in the release.