Over three lakh get mental healthcare

The health department identified and catered to over 3 lakh patients suffering from mental illness since the National Mental Health Programme was launched in 2016 in the state.

Dr Rajani P, deputy director, mental health, said that with the programme, the department has managed to reach out to all sections of society through medical officers, nurses and Asha workers.

"We are able to address mental health issues at primary health centres levels. We have trained our staff to identify and administer medication according. However, for Ayush doctors, we have directed them to only identify and refer the cases," she added.

According to Global Burden of Disease report, mental disorder accounts for 13 % of total disability-adjusted life year (DALY) with depression being the leading cause.

Dr Rajani said that mental health issues are more prevalent than diabetes or hypertension, but is not given much importance. Mental health issues are still a stigma in society, but the issues can be addressed only when the person opens up and seeks help.

As a pilot project, the department started telemedicine units at PHC level in Mandya district from October 2016. Over 10,000 patients have been treated until November 2017.

Dr Rajani said the project will be extended to 5 districts shortly.

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