`Not enough hospitals to deal with mental health issues`

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2012, 18:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Rapid changes in lifestyle and work pressure contribute more to depression, but not many hospitals in India cater to such patients due to lack of training in dealing with mental health issues.

This view was articulated by National Human Rights Commission Chairperson K G Balakrishnan who said such issues should be given priority by medical practitioners.

"There are about 43 hospitals in the government sector and very few in the private sector that deal with these issues. Also there are no specific courses in the MBBS too that deal with the issues of mental health, despite the fact that they are on the rise due to anxiety and depression in India," he said.

At a seminar organised by NHRC to mark Mental Health Day here, a study said issues of mental health are not given as much priority as other health problems in the country.

Suggesting the need for an insurance cover for mental health patients, Dr Prahima Murthy from the NIMHANS, Bangalore said there are better infrastructural facilities available in the hospitals across the country as compared to ten years back.

But, she said, the number of trained professionals are limited.

In most cases, patients of schizophrenia and paranoia are subjected to in-human conditions and human rights violations since most of them are forced to be treated by their family members at various religious institutions, said Prof Nimesh G Desai, Director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.

The NHRC has proposed enactment of several mental health legislations to increase awareness amongst patients and family members.