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Treatment for mental illness still murky in India - Nitte VC

Treatment for mental illness still murky in India - Nitte VC


Mangalore Today News Network

Udupi, Nov 28, 2015 :  Speaking after inaugurating the third Nitte International Conference and Workshop on ’Beyond Symptoms Control Enhancing Performance in Functioning’ (related to psychiatry), Nitte University vice-chancellor Prof Ramananda Shetty said the psychological segment of human body is mostly ignored and it is not making waves or head way.


DR shetty


The concept of treatment for mental illness is still  murky in India, Prof Shetty said and added that it is borrowed from Australia. India is known for medical colleges.The number of medical colleges in the country crosses 400. The Department of Psychiatry is struggling to establish itself in the midst of the gigantic number of medical colleges, he observed. 


India has a huge population and there are only 4,000 psychiatrists here. Another 4,000 psychiatrists are working abroad. This has made the Psychiatry scenario poor.

Health care is a vague matter for the population of nearly 1.3 billion in the country. Technical problems impede full-fledged health care amenities, he said.

Prof Shetty said 15 per cent of the total population of India suffers from mental disorder. Among them, five per cent of people suffer from severe mental breakdown which is symptomatic. The remaining 10 per cent of the people can be treated and rehabilitated, he added.

Referring to increasing suicidal tendency, he said about 20 people in one lakh population commit suicide in India every year. In Kerala, this rate stands at 27 per lakh and 38 in Bengaluru. Therefore, Bengaluru is first in terms of the number of suicide cases in the country. Bengaluru will also be the diabetes capital of India by 2020 according to the data released by endocrinologists. 

He expressed regret over increase in the number of farmers’ suicide in Karnataka.

In India, the government spends nearly one per cent of the total GDP for health care services. Western countries spend 8-9 per cent of their GDP on health services, he added.

"Life expectancy has increased in the post-independent era. Earlier, the life expectance was 34-35 years. But today, the life expectancy is up to 68 (years) for men and 69 (years) for women. In this background, there is every need to look into the quality and standard of life styles. What is the quality of living today? Is it free of medicine?" he questioned.

Prof Shetty lamented that life carries a huge bag of medicine with it. The medicines are so expensive and common man cannot afford it, he added.

Chancellor N Vinay Hegde said Psychiatry should imbibe counselling as counselling plays a major role curing minor mental disorders.   He expressed apprehension over increasing cases of mental illness among youth.

Prof M Parameshwara Deva of Malaysian University said the care of mental patients is not a hopeless task as some may think. Such negative and parochial as well as prejudiced views exist in the minds of doctors, nurses, common people and even decision makers at the highest levels of governments.

Despite all efforts to retrain and rehabilitate the mentally ill patients, the stigma of mental illness remains and it may act as a glass ceiling to prevent the rehabilitated from gaining their rightful place in society. The re-education of the community to make it understand the emotional stresses and problems that sometimes lead to mental illnesses is an important aspect of rehabilitation.


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