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Mental illness rings warning bells

Mental illness rings warning bells
Highlights

The growing problem of mental illness among the population of the country has been ringing warning bells to the government and society as well

  • 15 to 18% of population are mentally ill in which 5-10% are having severe illness: RCI
  • Country is having only 6,000 psychiatrists and it may need 50 years to fill the gap

Tirupati: The growing problem of mental illness among the population of the country has been ringing warning bells to the government and society as well.

Though, 15-18 percent of population were mentally ill and 5-10 percent among them were having severe mental illness like Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, severe addictions etc., the country is having only 6,000 psychiatrists and less than 1,000 counsellors and social workers recognised by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

And with this manpower, it needs another 50 years to make it on par with international standards. Even if they increase PG seats in psychiatry by three times, it needs 50 years to fill the gap, observed Dr Mahesh Gowda of Spandana Hospitals in Bengaluru, who was also the CME Chair at the ongoing 51st Annual Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society, South Zone Branch being held in Tirupati during October 26-28.

Speaking to The Hans India on the sidelines of the conference, Mahesh has revealed that out of the total population with mental illness 50 percent do not agree for treatment and among the remaining 50 percent only 20 percent have access to doctors.

The remaining 80 percent were still not being treated which is known as treatment gap. The aim should always be to bring this 80 percent to treatment and to reach them.

He stated that there were no good rehabilitation and de-addiction centres for patients which were mandated by the law and the government has to address these issues.

Also, there was no insurance for psychiatric patients but under the new law they should be insured. Insurance companies should not discriminate people with psychiatric illness from providing insurance cover anymore.

Underlining the theme of the Conference, “Back to Basics – Challenges to Opportunities,” Dr Mahesh has made it clear that there was a need to revisit the laws which were not part of their curriculum at PG level as several changes were made in it.

Under the new law, Patient has to visit any psychiatrist personally and there will be no proxy treatment as was done before.

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