With 50 psychiatrists, MP ill-equipped to treat patients with mental ailments | Hindustan Times
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With 50 psychiatrists, MP ill-equipped to treat patients with mental ailments

Madhya Pradesh, according to an official estimate, is home to around 40 lakh people who suffer from mental illnesses. However, the state has less than 50 psychiatrists, with the 2015-16 National Mental Health Survey revealing that there is 0.05 availability of psychiatrists (per lakh population).

bhopal Updated: Oct 11, 2016 12:31 IST
The number of medical officers at the state and district levels, who are trained to deliver mental health services (per lakh population) is only 0.1 % in Madhya Pradesh, according to the survey.
The number of medical officers at the state and district levels, who are trained to deliver mental health services (per lakh population) is only 0.1 % in Madhya Pradesh, according to the survey.(HT file)

Madhya Pradesh, according to an official estimate, is home to around 40 lakh people who suffer from mental illnesses. However, the state has less than 50 psychiatrists, with the 2015-16 National Mental Health Survey revealing that there is 0.05 availability of psychiatrists (per lakh population).

The number of medical officers at the state and district levels, who are trained to deliver mental health services (per lakh population) is only 0.1 % in Madhya Pradesh, according to the survey.

According to proposed norms, there should be one psychiatrist for every 100,000 people, three clinical psychologists for every 200,000 people, two psychiatric social workers for every 100,000 people, and one psychiatric nurse for every 10 psychiatric beds.

However, officials say Madhya Pradesh is facing an acute shortage of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses.

“Most of the psychiatrists in the state are located in urban centres. Rural centres do not really have any mental health care facilities. There are only about a dozen psychiatrists in government hospitals and roughly 20-25 in the private sector,” Dr RN Sahu, secretary of the MP Mental Health Authority and professor of psychiatry at Gandhi Medical College and Associated Hospitals, Bhopal, said.

The National Mental Health Policy, unveiled in October 2014, promised fresh funds for the modernisation and expansion of mental health care facilities in the country, as well as providing universal access to mental healthcare, but Dr Sahu said that not much has changed.

MP has just two psychiatric hospitals — Manasik Arogyasala in Gwalior and psychiatric hospital, Indore.

“The limited availability of specialist mental health human resources like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and psychiatric social workers has been one of the barriers in providing essential mental health care to all,” said psychiatrist Dr Satyakant Trivedi, who works at Bansal Hospital.

What is psychological first aid?

October 10 was observed as World Mental Health Day, with this year’s theme as psychological first aid.

“Despite its name, psychological first aid covers both psychological and social support. Just like general health care never consists of physical first aid alone, similarly no mental health care system should consist of psychological first aid alone,” psychiatrist Dr Satyakant Trivedi said.

“Indeed, the investment in psychological first aid is part of a longer-term effort to ensure that anyone in acute distress due to a crisis is able to receive basic support, and that those who need more than psychological first aid will receive additional advanced support from health, mental health and social services,” he added.

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