20 million need mental health care: Expert

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Updated: Oct 11, 2011, 09:29 AM IST

New Delhi: Around 20 million people in India need medical treatment for serious mental disorders, with a majority of them belonging to the most deprived section of the society, an expert said here Monday.

D. Nagaraja, former director and vice-chancellor of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), also said the issue of mental health has to be addressed urgently.

"The issue of mental health care in India is serious and we need to address the problem in an earnest manner. The infrastructure in various hospital for these people is not up to the mark," Nagaraja said while addressing a seminar `Human Rights and Mental Health` organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on World Mental Health Day.

NHRC member P.C. Sharma said mental health was not being accorded the same priority as other health problems in the country.

"Resources are woefully inadequate and the situation remains grim, with about only 43 mental hospitals and institutions, which still remain by and large ill-equipped in terms of manpower, infrastructure and financial resources," added Sharma.

Sujaya Krishnan, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said there was decline in the number of psychiatrists in the country.

"The National Mental Health Programme is operational in only 123 districts in India, which is not up to the mark," Krishnan added.

IANS

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