BANGALORE: Access to mental health treatment is a serious issue. Almost 90% of people in rural and 50% in urban areas are deprived of the same, experts have said at a psychosocial meeting here on Thursday.
Inaugurating the 10th world congress of World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR), home minister V S Acharya said: "Almost 20 million people suffer from mental illness. They find it difficult to fight for their rights because of the stigma attached with it.''
The minister had a solution to this: "Shortage of medical facilities and staff in villages to treat mental illness can be addressed by conducting a three-month course in mental health for general medical practitioners in rural areas. In north Karnataka, the Government Medical hospital will soon be made autonomous for treating mental illness.''
On the occasion, NIMHANS, Director, D Nagaraja, said: "Two per cent of population suffer from severe mental disorder. Unfortunately, even today the treatment gap is 50% in urban area and 90% in rural area. Government had sanctioned Rs 120 cr in the past budget and in present financial budget Rs 1000 cr is sanctioned but is not unable to increase the accessibility for treatment."
President, WAPR International, Dr Michael Madianos, said: "In more than 68 countries, 78% of the population have access to less than one psychiatrist. In South Asian and African countries, 89% of the population have less than one psychiatrist for one lakh population."
Psycho Social Rehabilitation, WHO 2002 report shows, globally, 154 million are affected with schizophrenia, 91 million by alchololism, 16 million by drugs, 25 to 50 million by Alzheimer and epilepsy and significant number of them suffer from depression and thousands of individuals commit suicide and majority of those who commit suicide are from developed countries. (TOI)