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Community Psychiatrist underscores importance of mental health care

Mental health care

DIMAPUR, JUNE 10: Community Psychiatrist, Dr. Nilesh Mohite on Friday cited that in Nagaland, there is only one psychiatrist for every 70,000 people, creating a huge treatment gap for people who need mental health services and in the context of Northeast, more than 90% of the people comprises this treatment gap while the national figure stands at 80% to 85%.
Speaking during the launching of the Monthly Mental Health Camps by Serendip Guardians in collaboration with Project MITA (Mental Illness Treatment Alliance) here at Little Hut Conference Hall, Chumoukedima, Mohite pointed out that some of the symptoms in a person that can indicate his/her need for mental health services are lack of sleep, aggression, repetitive thoughts, suspicion, depression, hallucination, loss of appetite, extreme cleanliness, continuous headache, intellectual disability, etc.
He explained that he has dedicated his life to work with and for the community instead of practicing and has remain associated with MITA, which earlier stood for Mental Illness Treatment in Assam, and now has been renamed being it focusing outside Assam too.
The monthly camps, he said, which charges only Rs 400 a month and covers consultancy, a 24 hours helpline, a monitoring app, and all medicine expenditures is perhaps the cheapest but it doesn’t make the camps’ quality poor, rather, they are done as per international standards and MITA works with the motto of ‘best for the last person’. He added that it runs without any donations and is in a way self-sufficient.
According to Mohite, mental illness is chronic, which means, it needs treatment and medication for long period of time and during his days working at the Lokopriya Gopinat Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH) , he observed that patients were repetitive as they would not continue medications after being treated.
He mentioned that stigma, superstation, lack of awareness even among the educated regarding mental health and drug addiction, etc., are factors that contribute to the issue of mental health.
DC, Chumoukedima, Abhinav Shivam, who was Chief Guest at the launching programme, also attributed taboo and stigma as stumbling blocks when it comes to mental health but expressed happiness that the camps are taking place in Chumoukedima, which he referred in his speech as “the future of Nagaland”.
He said that it is very difficult to entail people when it comes to mental health because of their denial and lack of acknowledgement. He suggested that before starting full-fledged mental camps, the organizers can do a pilot project of the same by reaching out to a few villages.
In his brief remark, he referred to social media as the “biggest making of the mental illness” and stated that people are mistaking social media as real connections and are in the process isolating themselves, making them prone to mental illness.
Director of Bosco Institute, Jorhat, and Guest of Honour for the programme, Dr. Jerry Thomas in his speech said that when it comes to physical health, people rush, they know where to go and what to do, which isn’t the same when it comes to mental health.
According to him, when development and progress is considered, it is often measured in terms of economic and infrastructural development and the factors like happiness and well-being are kept out of the context, which isn’t correct.
Director of Serendip Guardians, Riti Ghose, who also spoke on the occasion, gave a brief history of the organization starting from the year 2014 and mentioned that about 12% to 13% of all people need help when it comes to mental illness.
Calling the camps “just the beginning”, she make clear that the camps for now would be conducted on every 3rd Saturday of the months, starting from June 11, 2022 at 11 a.m. onwards. The venue for some time would be the premise of Government Higher Secondary School, Chumoukedima, till a different venue is settled on.
(Page News Service)

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