Depression is the theme of this year’s World Health Day, the recent suicide of a student in Mumbai proving it to be a much needed move. There are talks on to include mental illnesses under the NTR Vaidya Seva scheme.
Reportedly, discussions are on at the health secretariat level to include medical health under the NTR Vaidya Seva scheme. Mental illnesses have so far not been included in the scheme, owing to its chronic nature. But with more and more people getting diagnosed and the taboo around the topic slowly eroding, the World Health Organisation too has recognised its importance.
Despite the list of illnesses to be included not being finalised, schizophrenia and bipolarity are expected to reportedly make the list. In a couple of Primary Health Centres, community outreach programmes have also been initiated to treat mental illnesses. The outreach programme that began at Madhurawada in March will soon be extended to Pendurthy too. Doctors and paramedics visit patients at the Primary Health Centres and provide the required treatment and medicines. Depending on the requirement, such visits will be carried out fortnightly or monthly.
The first day this programme was held, 30 patients turned up from rural areas. Almost all of them were found to be mentally ill or suffering from behavioural problems. Few were even diagnosed depressed or schizophrenic. This outreach programme is at the moment funded through the Government Hospital for Mental Health’s resources but the authorities have requested the Director of Medical Education to provide funds for the programme.
“Making the hospital a centre of excellence will have a number of advantages. We can commence M.Phil courses in clinical psychology, psychiatric social works and psychiatric nursing, thereby having our own resource personnel for counselling patients, families and undertake field visits. We can also start a neurology unit with MRI/CT scan machines,” Dr Radha Rani, Medical Superintendent of the hospital told TOI.