BENGALURU: In a burgeoning city like Bengaluru, while an increasing number of people seem to be complaining about mental health issues, a proportionate rise in the number of experts who can help them deal with the complaints is close to negligible. The city has about 250 psychiatrists offering their services to a population of 1.23 crore, which comes to one psychiatrist for every 50,000 persons.
According to a study done by NIMHANS, about 8 per cent of the population in Karnataka suffers from mental illnesses, and 7.3 per cent of those in the age group of 13-17 years need mental health care. “There is a shortage of health workers trained in mental health and a lack of investment in community-based mental health facilities.
Moreover, there is an extreme shortage of mental health workers like psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors,” Dr BR Madhukar, medical director of Cadabams Group, said at an event held on Monday to announce the partnership of the city-based mental health services provider with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS foundation Trust, UK (NTW).
The partnership will initiate a pilot project under which 10 experts from the United Kingdom will arrive in Bengaluru to train 40 mental health professionals, including counsellors, nurses, psychologists and social workers, to understand the basic-to-complex cases of mental illness here. The initiative “will bring a quantum leap in the quality and accessibility to mental health,” group director Sandesh R Cadabam said.
Cadabams’s research has shown that adults coming in to seek help first started experiencing the problems when they were as young as 14 years old. “We want to catch them young because school and college students are more prone to mental illness.
Depression is seen more in the cities as compared to rural areas,” Madhukar said, adding that students are one of the biggest consumers of cannabis.As of now, the group works with five schools in the city, covering 2,000 students. It is aiming at expanding its presence in 20 other schools to reach at least 5,000 more students in the coming days.