Make it a national mission to ensure mental health for all: President

'10% of India's population suffers from more than one mental problem'

Make it a national mission to ensure mental health for all: President

Stressing on the need to take it up as a national mission to ensure access to mental health treatment for all, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that we must strive to make this a reality by 2022 when the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence.

The president was speaking at the 22nd convocation of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) in the city. Kovind highlighted the stigma and denial faced by patients of mental diseases in the country.

Kovind emphasised the need to explore the potential of counselling services and practices like yoga and vipassana meditation alongside conventional medical treatments.

The president called Nimhans a national asset and said the iconic institute treats seven lakh patients every year. He highlighted that two out of every three patients come from low-income backgrounds.

He said over 10% of India's population suffers from more than one mental health problem, referring to Nimhans' national mental health survey results. He commended the national mental health programme and said it had covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India.

Alarming increase in cases

"We have seen a 15-20 % increase in mental health patients this year which is an alarming number," said B N Gangadhar, director of Nimhans.

Also present at the event was Union Minister of Health and Family Affairs J P Nadda, who said the Centre had increased three-fold the number of districts which have a district mental health programme. He said the government was focusing on increasing the number of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses and mental health workers in the country to address the requirement for increased clinical and ancillary services.

Governor Vajubhai Vala, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar, Minister of State for Medical Education Sharan Prakash Patil were among others present.

List of awardees
Dr Santosh Kumar Dash, Dr Sai Deepak Yaranagula, Dr Sarbesh Tiwari, Dr Bharath S, Dr Vinayak Koparde (in absentia), Dr Kislay Kishore, Dr Lavanya P Sharma, Dr Lakshmi S, Sneha Goyal, Veenashree and Madhurima.



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