Azad aims to address needs of mental trauma victims

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (ANI): Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday stressed the need for addressing the mental trauma suffered by victims of natural and man-made disasters, which often go unnoticed and unattended.

After releasing the National Guidelines on Psycho Social Support and Mental Health Services in Disasters brought out by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) here, Azad emphasised that the NMHP was "re-strategised for the community based approach with an allocation of Rs.1000 crore making mental health services available at the primary care level and integrating it into general health care."

Acknowledging the acute shortage of qualified mental health professionals in the country, Azad said, "Under Centre of Excellence in Mental Health Programme, 11 existing mental health hospitals/institutes are being upgraded and strengthened to produce qualified manpower".

"Total budget under this scheme will be Rs 330 crore. As a result of which an additional 44 P.G. seats in Psychiatry, 176 M.Phil seats in clinical psychology and psychiatric social works and 220 seats in Diploma in psychiatric nursing will be available every year," added Azad.

Azad further said, "Through the manpower development scheme, the government will support starting PG courses or increasing the intake capacity for PG training in Mental Health, for establishing and improving department in specialities of Mental Health in Government Medical Colleges and Government General Hospitals."

"Assistance would be provided for setting up and strengthening 30 units of Psychiatry, 30 departments of Clinical psychology, 30 departments of PSW, 30 departments of Psychiatric Nursing and a support of upto Rs. 51 Lakh to Rs. 1 crore per PG department," he added.

"The expected outcome of the manpower development schemes is 1756 Mental Health Professionals annually, which includes 104 Psychiatrists, 416 Clinical Psychologists, 416 Psychiatric Social Workers and 820 Psychiatric Nurses," said Azad.

Expressing his concern over the wider context of mental illness, Azad said, "I am of the view, that counselling or treating mental health illness is only half job done. Socially and culturally appropriate rehabilitative measures need to be developed and implemented."

Congratulating NDMA for bringing out the guidelines on mental health interventions, Azad said, "I observed that it gains its strength from the existing National Mental Health Programme and its District level components."

"However, it also addresses the key issues to be encountered in a disaster situation such as integrating psychosocial support with general relief work, providing psychosocial and mental health services in camp settings, integrating," added Azad. (ANI)

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