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Nimhans' initial analysis of Belur populace throws up substance use concerns

Focused group discussions conducted across the 10 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Belur revealed a significant use of alcohol and tobacco among the general population.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 23:40 IST

Bengaluru: Nimhans has now nearly completed the recruitment and training of a three-member taluk-level team and nearly 20 community health workers at Belur in Hassan district for its comprehensive rural mental health action programme, NAMAN.

Preliminary discussions with the local population reveal prevalence of substance use among the general population.

The NAMAN programme was launched on December 18 in collaboration with Ashraya Hastha Trust, a non-governmental organisation, and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka.

Two months since its launch as a pilot project in Belur, the situational analysis and needs assessment is underway to draw a complete picture of the local mental health services available to the general public. Besides this, Nimhans has also set up their clinic at the taluk hospital to offer services every Tuesday.

Focused group discussions conducted across the 10 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Belur revealed a significant use of alcohol and tobacco among the general population, noted Dr C Naveen Kumar, principal investigator of NAMAN and head of community psychiatry, Nimhans.

“Substance use seems to be the most commonly encountered mental health issue at the PHC level. However, these patients come to seek help mainly for related physical ailments rather than for addiction itself,” he told DH.

He added that the training needs assessment conducted with medical officers revealed their deep interest in deepening their expertise in applying treatment guidelines for various mental disorders, particularly to manage severe mental illnesses (SMI).

The analysis also threw up the need to establish a comprehensive database for patients diagnosed with SMIs and chronic mental illnesses (CMI), which would facilitate streamlined follow-up, enabling more effective and systematic monitoring and evaluation of the services provided.

The programme is expected to positively impact the local population of about 2.5 lakh people by empowering health workers to raise awareness about mental illnesses, promote management strategies, and provide grassroots-level care and rehabilitation among residents across age groups.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 23:40 IST)

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