'Bhopal gas survivors with mental illness didn’t get adequate care'

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 30, 2014 16:03 IST

Recent studies have shown that majority of the gas survivors with mental disorders, identified in the 1985-1994 survey, continue to be ill as they didn’t get adequate health care facilities, said Bangalore-based psychiatrist Prof R Srinivasa Murthy.

Murthy was addressing the inaugural day of the national conference on “Mental health aspects of Bhopal gas tragedy: Past, present and future: Lessons learnt” on Saturday.

“There has been no continuous research to understand the changing health impacts, adequacy of the care provided and efficacy of the different interventions. In the area of services, there has been inadequacy of the programmes to provide mental health care to all the survivors with mental disorders,” said Prof Murthy, who had studied psychological impact of the gas tragedy on survivors since February 1985 in Bhopal.

“The first phase of the study was conducted from 1985-1994, while the second phase was from 1995 to 2010. The third phase was from October 2010 to July 2013, he said.

Murthy pointed out that there had been no effective linking of primary healthcare with mental healthcare, proper rehabilitation, public mental health education and use of psychological interventions.

The conference on “Disaster Mental Health-Dimensions Of Psychological Support” was organised by Association of Industrial Psychiatry of India (AIPI) and Peoples’ College of Medical Sciences and Research Center Bhopal.

Prof Murthy said the current psychological impact on the survivors include post disaster anxiety depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychiatric ailments attributable to lifestyle changes, family and occupational status resulting directly or indirectly from the gas tragedy.

“There is a need for continuous dialogue with the survivors to both understand their perceptions and needs as well as for wide use of self-care measures for mental health,” Prof Murthy concluded.

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