State face dearth of psychiatrists

BANGALORE: There are several districts across the state which do not have a single psychiatrist neither in the government nor private hospitals.  People living in Bidar, Koppal, Chitradur

Published: 13th March 2012 01:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:35 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: There are several districts across the state which do not have a single psychiatrist neither in the government nor private hospitals.  People living in Bidar, Koppal, Chitradurga, Madikeri and Chamarajnagar districts are  compelled to go to Bangalore Shimoga, Mysore and Mandya to receive treatments. The 2011 census stated Karnataka’s population as 6.11 crore. Out of this, about 10 per cent suffering from mental disorders including major mental traumas and minor depressive problems. There are 200 psychiatrists across the state, which is  27 per cent as compared to the global standards.

The global average is 120 psychiatrists per million but, there are 4000 plus psychiatrists in India for a  population of 121 crore. Also according to experts there are less than 1000 psychologists and 500 psychiatric nurses in the country.

When Vice-President Hameed Ansari visited the city recently, he said there were 20 psychiatrists for every ten million population in India which is lesser than the global average.

Director and Vice-Chancellor of NIMHANS Dr P Sathish Chandra told Express “In our country, there is a huge disparity of specialists to the existing population. The main reason is the lack of training institutes and faculty.

For every two students there should be one teacher. Also to handle the shortage, doctors at district levels are trained to give treatment to psychiatric patients under National Mental Health Programme”.

He added often patients suffering from mental health issues were forced to undergo alternative treatments due to the increasing  shortage.  “People still have a stigma and do not wish to come to us. They take up some superstitious methods for the cure,” added Dr Sathish Chandra. Under condition of anonymity, a professor at NIMHANS said “My students who pass out of NIMHANS are drawing four times the salary which I draw here. So, they obviously prefer to practice in private hospitals here or prefer to go abroad”.

The professor lamented  psychiatrists were attracted by lucrative offers.

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