World Mental Health Day: Fewer professionals for patients

world mental health day

New Delhi, October 10: In order to cater to scarcity of trained professionals in mental health sector in India, Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel have acknowledged the dire need for trained and skilled manpower for promoting mental health in the country.

The minister was speaking at a function to mark ‘World Mental Health Day’.

The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda had also accepted in the parliament while discussing Mental health bill that was passed in the Rajya Sabha recently, that there is a huge gap between country’s mental health requirements and the available resources. The central government seeks to bridge those gaps.

As per WHO, one in every four persons is affected by a mental illness at least once in their lifetime. Six to seven per cent of India’s population currently suffers from some form of mental illness as per the available data. However the real numbers could be really high.

The Ministry of health and family welfare accepted in Lok Sabha in December 2015, that there are only 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, 850 psychiatric social workers and 1,500 psychiatric nurses in the country.

This means that there are 3 psychiatrists per million people in the country. While the shortage is 18 times fewer than common wealth nations’ average number of health professionals.

So India is short of 66,200 psychiatrists and 269,750 nurses to match the global averages.

Patel reiterated the ground realities and said: We will have to train more medical officers, nurses, counsellors and pharmacists in district hospitals, and community and primary health centres.

She also shared the same concerns that the bill touched, “community based interventions through utilisation of field-level functionaries such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANMs) should also be implemented.”

While MoS Health Faggan Singh Kulaste said: As a community, we must collectively create and spread awareness about mental health disorders and treatment available. This could help the patients lead a normal life with dignity and be productive.

Wefornews Bureau

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