Govt planning to review National Mental Health Programme

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New Delhi, Apr 26 (UNI) With the number of suicide cases crossing 1.18 lakh in 2006, the central Government is planning to review the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the 11th five year plan to cover areas of suicide prevention and stress management.

Union Minister of State for Health an Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi said infrastructure would be created for production of quality manpower for effective delivery of mental healthcare services.

Admitting to a shortage of psychiatrists and mental health professionals, she said general healthcare personnel will be provided short-term training in mental healthcare.

''The shortage of psychiatrists and mental health professionals is being addressed in the restrategised National Mental Health Programme for the 11th five year plan,'' she told Parliament recently.

More teaching institutes on the pattern of NIMHANS was also being planned at regional level to provide adequate number of psychiatrists, she added.

More than 1.18 lakh people committed suicide during 2006 as against about 1.13 lakh in 2005.

A total of 7,604 suicides in 2005 and 8,045 in 2006 were reported in the country due to insanity or mental illness, Ms Lakshmi said.

''These account for 6.7 per cent amd 6.8 per cent of the total suicides in the respective years,'' she added.

The Minister said according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as many as 2,555 and 2,464 victims during 2005 and 2006 respectively were in the age group of 0 to 14 years.

''A total of 40,234 and 42,216 victims during the same period were in the age group of 15 to 29 years... and as many as 40,998 and 42,410 women committed suicide in 2005 and 2006 respectively,'' she added.

She said it was envisaged to restrategise the National Mental Health Programme during the 11th five year plan period to include suicide prevention and stress management.

''Health workers would be trained to identify signs of stress and depression in students. District Mental Health Programme would be extended all over the country in a phased manner,'' she added.

Ms Lakshmi said several factors were responsible for suicides including physiological, social, economic and medical reasons.

''The causes are most of the time interlinked, cumulative and progressive,'' she added.

UNI NR RC BST1507

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