State ill-equipped to treat mental diseases | india | Hindustan Times
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State ill-equipped to treat mental diseases

WITH SIX to seven per cent of the State?s 65 million population suffering from mental syndromes, the task, for the committee formed to draft a State-level policy on mental health, is cut out.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 14:43 IST

WITH SIX to seven per cent of the State’s 65 million population suffering from mental syndromes, the task, for the committee formed to draft a State-level policy on mental health, is cut out.

What makes the task of the committee all the more difficult is the fact that not even a single Post Graduation (PG) seat of psychiatry has been sanctioned in any of the five medical colleges of the State.

Small surprise then that the treatment, rehabilitation and other facilities for mentally disturbed patients in the State are in a miserable condition. 

The eight-member committee has to draft the policy in a relatively short span of three months. Work on that has already begun at frantic pace.

“About six-seven per cent of the State’s 65 million-odd populace suffers from different mental syndromes of which no less than four per cent are of serious kinds,’’ committee convener and Gandhi Medical College (GMC), Bhopal Psychiatric department HoD Dr R N Sahu told the Hindustan Times today. 

Lamenting the fact that the facilities for treatment and rehabilitation of mentally deranged patients were almost in a shambles in the State, Dr Sahu pointed out the committee’s main aim was to improve the scenario as far as possible.

“Our thrust is on making facilities available to the poorest of poor patients even as a crucial point on the agenda is to get a PG course started on psychiatry,” Dr Sahu said. The fact, however, still remains that even if a PG course starts from the next session, it would offer specialist psychiatrists only after three-four years.

“To improve the present state of affairs, the committee also proposes to train more government doctors in the field of psychiatry,” Dr Sahu stated. The step, he added, would at least bring about some positive changes and pave the way for further advancement in enhancing the facilities.

Referring to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, Dr Sahu said depression was presently number four in the list of most prevalent diseases in the world. “In the coming years it (depression) is going to be the top disease affecting the largest number of persons worldwide,” Dr Sahu added.

Saying mental disorders were more prevalent in developing and economically backward countries, Dr Sahu said India thus had a huge number of mental patients. “Poverty plays a drastic role on a person’s psyche and many times it results in certain mental disorders too,” Dr Sahu maintained.

He stated the committee would draft the mental health policy in three months and it would be implemented subsequently. Besides Dr Sahu, the other members of the committee include Director Health Services MP, Director Medical Education MP and other specialist doctors and expert psychiatrists from the National Institute of Medical Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.