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Right for a Sound Mind in a Sound Body

KOCHI: Those suffering from mental health problems are marginalised due to  the stigma associated with the illness. Unlike the differently-abled, the  mentally-ill have no cognitive

Published: 18th January 2012 01:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:17 PM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: Those suffering from mental health problems are marginalised due to  the stigma associated with the illness. Unlike the differently-abled, the  mentally-ill have no cognitive or mental ability to represent themselves and   therefore are deprived of human rights, said Dr Shiv Gautam  member,    Advisory Board on Health, National Human Rights Commission.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day Indian Global Psychiatric Initiative- 2012  (IGPI) at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) which commenced on Tuesday. They have the right to proper treatment and psychotherapy. Sufficient  attention should be paid towards securing human rights for mentally-ill.  

There should be an inbuilt mechanism in the health system to look into the issue, he said.

Mental patients are also subjected to illtreatment. Therei s no law to curb self-proclaimed doctors from illtreating patients but for the IPC .

Even the authorities and politicians turn a blind eye to the issue. They have the right to get proper treatment.

Incidents like Ervadi where many mentally-ill patients were charred to death, will not have occur if something had been done about the Health Bill of 2009.

  According to statistics, 10 per cent of the total population of the country suffers from mental illness but there are only 4,000 psychiatrists. More  number of psychiatrists are needed. Moreover, depression is common among those suffering from other illnesses owing to the trauma and stress associated with disease.

Doctors should be trained to take to this aspect into consideration. The course content of the medical colleges have to be strengthened. Though psychiatry is a subject in colleges, examinations are hardly conducted in  it.

“I have asked the MCI to introduce examinations in the subject which is the need of the hour,” Shiv Gupta said. School mental health programmes need to be organised properly. The NHRC’s document on quality assurance in mental health has been published, he said.

On the trauma and disaster apprehension of the people living around Mullaperiyar, he said the state government should assure them safety. People  should be moved to safer places. It is the responsibility of the state and  Centre to ensure them security, he said.

He added that disaster management teams should be formed and be equipped and be on the alert. The conference is being organised by AIMS in association with Indo-American psychiatric Association, British Indian Psychiatric Association, Indo-Canadian Psychiatric Association, Indian Psychiatric Society and Indian Association of Private Psychiatry. Many delegates from  the country and across the world are taking part in IGPIC.

 Major General J K Bansal, Member, NDMA, inaugurated the conference. Swami Purnamritananda Puri, general secretary, Matha Amritanandamayi Math, offered his blessings.

 Dr Russel D’Souza, president IGPI, Australia, gave the presidential address. Dr John Oldham, president, World Psychiatric Association, USA, gave the special address.

 Dr Keshavan Kutty Nair, HOD, Dept of Psychiatry, AIMS, welcomed the gathering. Dr Prem Nair, medical director, AIMS, D Natarajan, secretary, IGPI, Canada, and Dr Abraham Varghese, president, IMA Kochi, offered felicitations.

Dr Dinesh, prof of psychiatry, AIMS, proposed the vote of thanks. 

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