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A beautiful mind

Dr Kiran P S, state nodal officer of the State Mental Health Programme, said institution-based interventions have limitations.

Published: 09th October 2021 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2021 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Though Kerala brags about a a slew of mental healthcare initiatives and programmes, a large gap remains unaddressed still. The Mental Health Care Act 2017, which makes mental healthcare the legal right of the population, is yet to be implemented in the state. According to a recent survey, around 12.8% of Malayalis suffer from psychiatric issues that require medical intervention while 15% is under treatment.

Given the deteriorating mental health situation in the state after the pandemic struck, experts are calling for immediate scaling up of resources. Dr Kavitha P of NIMHANS, Bengaluru, who is also the state coordinator of Kaval (a state programme that manages psychosocial rehabilitation of children in conflict with law), opines there is a dearth of specialised experts in the field of child psychiatry in the state.

“Various strategies are being planned to override this. There are Our Responsibility to Children (ORC), Kaval and Kaval Plus initiatives being implemented for early identification of psychosocial issues among children,” she said.

Though community-level interventions are being carried out by district mental health authorities across the state, lack of resources continues to plague it. The State Mental Health Authority is implementing a couple of community level intervention initiatives, including Sampoorna Manasika Arogyam (mental health for all) that trains ASHA workers to carry out house visits and report cases that need expert intervention.

Dr Kiran P S, state nodal officer of the State Mental Health Programme, said institution-based interventions have limitations. He highlighted the need for grassroots-level initiatives to reach out to people in need of mental health care.

“Since its launch, the programme has identified around 25,000 people, of whom 18,000 were new cases. Around 376 panchayats have already implemented the programme and the number is increasing. We could cover only 20 panchayats last year because of the pandemic. In the next two years, we will cover all local bodies in the state,” said Kiran P S. In addition to this, the authority is also implementing ‘Aswas’ scheme --- an exclusive programme that addresses depression among healthcare workers.

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day, which falls on Sunday, is  ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. As we battle many inequalities and disparities, there is a widespread call to make Kerala mentally fit

A sound mind and body are vital for a satisfying life. There has been a lot of focus of late on mental health, especially with the pandemic wrecking our lives and plans. 

Reaching out
Dr Kiran P S, state nodal officer of the State Mental Health Programme, said institution-based interventions have limitations and highlighted the need for grassroots-level initiatives to reach out to people in need.



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