Kolkata, January 12: According to Mental Health Atlas 2011, India has only 0.3 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people and government spends 0.06% of its health budget on mental health.
Mental disorders account for about 160 million lost years of healthy life globally. Of this at least 30% can be easily averted with existing interventions.
Responding to the Who's "call it for action" initiative, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences hosted an International Symposium on Global Mental Health, called ‘Dyuti 2015'.
Jointly organized with International Centre for Mental Health and Social Research of York University, the conference was inaugurated by Shri T.P. Sreenivasan, Vice Chairman and Executive Head, Kerala State Higher Education Council & saw Rev. Dr. Jose Cleetus Plackal C.M.I. preside over the function.
Dyuti 2015 had over 200 Indian and international participants discuss the need for evidence based practice in Mental Health, disparity in mental health services between different countries, social interventions for specific conditions, mental health programs, current challenges and much more.
The participants also presented various innovative models and different approaches to the mental health care scenario. Some of the international universities that participated were Maryland University-USA, Charles Sturt University-Australia, Western Michigan University - USA, Vives University-Belgium, Assumption University of Thailand, University of Applied Sciences and Arts- Northwestern Switzerland, Catholic University -Ruzomberok - Slovakia, WelTec University-New Zealand and the Lyndon State College-USA.
Dr. Martin Webber, Anniversary Reader in Social Work and Director, International Centre for Mental Health Social Research, University of York; Dr .Naru Pal, Public Health Physician and Head Population Health, WA Country Health Service, Western Australia, and Dr. A. T. Jyotheeswaran from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad gave the special address at the conference.
Mental disorders have a huge social and economic burden on families and communities warrant an urgent call for global and national mental health initiatives.
A major challenge facing policy makers today is how to increase access to quality mental health care that is anchored in the communities where people with mental illness live.
Dyuti 2015 discussed the Social Work profession's response to mental health ranging from promotion, levels of prevention of mental health, social policy, health- system planning and delivery of primary, secondary & tertiary mental health car, providing comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings locally and strengthening information systems.
Speaking on the occasion T.P Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Executive Head, Kerala State Higher Education Council, exhorted that severe alcoholism is a state of mental illness which has been overlooked over the years. Adding to that is the alarming growth in the suicide rates. He said that the state of Kerala contributes around 50% to the national statistics.
Dr. Joseph I. Injodey Principal, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Dr. Mary Venus Joseph(Dean & Administrator Rajagiri College of Social Sciences), Dr. Sr. Lizy P.J. (Head, Social work department) Dr. Raju Vargheese(University of Maryland U.S.A.), Dr. Ineke Way (Western Michigan University U.S.A.) also spoke on the occasion.
In India, social stigma remains a major obstacle in receiving help for mental illness. Very often people visit religious and traditional healers for general and mental health related problemsand gradually leads to worsened situations due to inhumane treatment methods used by such faith healers and are often subjected to exploitation.
There is a need to change this scenario and government machineries needs to gear up for ensuring quality mental health care facilities for the people of India.
According to Dr. Margarat Chan, Director General of World Health Organization, "Mental health matters, but the world has a long way to go to achieve it. Many unfortunate trends must be reversed-neglect of mental health services and care, and abuses of human rights and discrimination against people with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities."
The conference also dealt with Mental Health Administration including Governmental and Non -Governmental initiatives in implementing programmes for Mental Health and reduction of stigma attached to mental illness. The conference highlighted the urgent need for Mental Health Research and related policy formulation across the globe.
Rajagiri College of Social Sciences (Rajagiri) was established as a result of the indefatigable industry and foresight of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). The School of Social Work was one of the pioneering institutions in South India, establishing programmes and setting the standards for the field. For more details, visit www.rcss.rajagiri.edu