Todays Special

Mental Health Programme

Mental Health Programme

Gujarat, with a population of 5,05,06,992 (census-2001) has a limited number of Mental Health facilities and professionals. Against this backdrop, there have been a number of positive developments.

Gujarat is probably the first state to have carried out step-wise activities for the development of the mental health sector. Government of Gujarat in association with mental health experts from NIMHANS had drawn the Terms of Reference for the mental health sector development. This was followed by the floating of Mental Health Mission, comprising of different professionals from the relevant fields. The Mission brought out the report "Priorities for Mental Health Sector Development in Gujarat " in the year 2003 in a stipulated time.

This report candidly reviews the Mental Health Status in the State. It lays down the priorities & suggests ways & means to strengthen the mental health sector. Mental Health Sector is extremely complex with challenging needs. This report is the corner stone in formulating the mental healthcare policy. Mental Healthcare Policy draft has gone through various workshops & consultative processes with the stakeholders and is being formulated for the final draft(* year??).

To look at the complexities of the Mental Health sector and to plan and implement the Mental Health Programme, a U/S 25, not-for-profit company, "Foundation For Mental Health and Allied Sciences" has been registered under the Companies Act. Process to appoint the board members/CEO to the company has been initiated. As midterm measures, different pilot programmes are underway in the different areas of Mental Health i.e. service delivery, epidemiology, school children, street children, rehabilitation, women's issues etc.

Pilot project on "Capacity Building and Capacity Strengthening" for NGOs and Hospitals for mental health has been completed. As an out come of this exercise, Government of Gujarat has got a manual printed for the training of the counsellors in the mental health field. Above information on Mental Health Support Programme can be seen from the web site-

ICMR in collaboration with IHBAS New Delhi was at the forefront during the work carried out at the earthquake affected areas of Gujarat. Report on "Mental Health Aspects of the Earthquake in Gujarat" has been published. The research activity was in collaboration with Government of Gujarat. Along with the research activity, component of service delivery was also added. Looking to the magnitude of the psychosocial problem ICMR in collaboration with IHBAS sanctioned an ICMR Task Force Project. The Taskforce has taken up the project "Mental Health Service Delivery & Service Delivery model in disaster affected (earthquake) population in Gujarat". Three Districts have been identified for the project i.e. Kutch-Bhuj, Rajkot, Ahmedabad. Studies in two centres have begun.

Government of Gujarat in collaboration with WHO (state unit) has carried out epidemiological surveys in Junagadh, Navsari and Ahmedabad districts. Presently analysis is under progress.

WHO (New Delhi) has taken up epidemiological studies in India in 11 states. Bhavnagar district has been selected for this purpose. Activities are underway in this district. RNE has provided the funds to WHO for the above studies in 4 districts of Gujarat.

Navsari General Hospital is carrying out the District Mental Health Programme. Mental Health Society has been formed to oversee the progress and implementation of the programme. Apart from providing the OPD and Indoor services at the District General Hospital, this centre also deals in capacity building through training of medical, paramedical & non-medical staff, establishes links with the other related Government/ NGOs for the purpose of capacity building, carries out various camps (disability, general health, sp. Mental Health), I.E.C. activities in the district (Local as well as Taluka and village level), and Outreach services to PHC.

Ahwa Civil Hospital is in Dang district, which is a hilly and tribal area. This area does not have Psychiatric services in the Government or Private Sector. As a first step it was decided to have sensitization camps for Med. & paramedical staff along with service delivery. The NGO " Mental Health Education & Research Trust", Ahmedabad arranged for the same. This programme was arranged on 13/6/2004. Along with the above activities, free medicines were provided to the patients. On the day of the camp around 100 patients attended. Looking at this response Navsari District Mental Health Society decided to have OPD every 15 days at Ahwa General Hospital, to which the department consented. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month OPDs are conducted by the district psychiatrist. From 4/1/04 to 26/9/04 total 7 numbers of OPDs were conducted. So far 373 patients have attended the OPDs. Looking at the needs of the district it was decided to have more frequent OPDs in the Civil hospital, Ahwa for which Rotary Club Surat (East) came forward. This esteemed club has decided to render the psychiatric services to the district at least for one year. In this regard, the first camp activity for identification and treatment and distribution of disability certificates was carried out on 26th Sept. 04. Free medications to the patients were provided.

Government of India has been approached for financial assistance to strengthen the services of Mental Health at the hospitals for mental health and psychiatry departments of Medical colleges & for four District General Hospitals of the State.

Apart from the 6 medical college psychiatry departments, state runs 4 hospitals for mental health ( Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Jamnagar, Bhuj). Other than Navsari District General Hospital, 6 other District General Hospitals ( Bharuch, Godhra, Mehsana, Palanpur, Junagadh, and Himmatnagar) provide psychiatry services.