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Health Minister Concerned About the Suicide Rates in India

eatment of mental health in India is still a taboo. Moreover, there is a ten-fold shortage of psychiatrists in India. There are only 3,000 psychiatrists in India as against a demand for over 32,000," said R.C. Jiloha, head, department of psychiatry, Maulana Azad Medical College.

"See India has 3,000 psychiatrists but the US has 6,000 Indian psychiatrists. This describes our lack of focus in this stream of treatment," said Nimesh G. Desai, medical superintendent of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), the only mental hospital of Delhi.

Desai said blind believes and stigma are still restricting people from coming out to avail themselves of medical treatment. Further, the mental health infrastructure in the country is not very good.

"We have 37 mental hospitals, of which three including IHBAS have been revamped. While the country needs more such hospitals, we should not forget to upgrade the existing hospitals.

"I believe, over 90 percent of mental illness can be cured through OPD (out patient department) treatment. Only 10 percent mentally ill people need hospitalisation."

Experts at Sanjivini, an NGO working in the field of mental health for decades, said treatment of this disease was not focussed in India.

"Mental illness in India is considered as a behavioural disorder rather than a health menace. The growing stress, increasing competition among youngsters and feeling of loneliness among old people are aggravating the problem," said Anandita Paul, head of the mental health intervention unit of Sanjivini.

"In today's world there is no scope for failure. From school students to working executives everyone is facing stress to become first, which later leads to depression and metal illness. Though women attempt to commit suicide more, it's men who get success in their attempts," Paul added.

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