As part of its de-centralisation process of mental health facilities in the state — currently concentrated in four regional mental hospitals — the public health department is setting up requisite infrastructure at six district hospitals in Nashik, Ahmednagar, Osmanabad, Bhandara, Gadchiroli and Wardha.
In the coming years, the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) will have facilities for treatment of problems related to mental health in all 36 districts. Currently, the state can admit over 4,500 patients in the four mental hospitals in Thane, Pune, Nagpur and Ratnagiri.
In 2013, Raigad, Satara, Parvani, Jalgaon, Buldhana and Amravati districts had been selected for creation of a separate ward for mentally ill patients. In 2014, six more district hospitals will be covered.
Dr Manish Renghe, who heads the mental health cell in the DHS, said: “We observed that patients had to be admitted far away from their home since there are only four major mental hospitals in the state. In several cases, the families stopped visiting the patients due to long distance, which distressed the patients.”
Currently, patients with mental illness are admitted in the four hospitals in Thane, Pune, Nagpur and Ratnagiri. As part of the de-
centralisation process, the exact version of these hospitals will be duplicated on a smaller scale in the district-run facilities.
According to officials, each district hospital will now be given a separate 20-bed ward for mentally challenged patients.
“We still need to hire psychiatrists to work in rural areas. Advertisements have been placed for the same,” Ghenge said. The DHS is now in the process of starting a training programme for nursing staff and doctors in district hospitals to handle these patients.
“The staff in mental wards must know how to psychologically motivate these patients. Medicines can only have 10 per cent effect on patients, it is counselling which actually helps,” added Ghenge.
A meeting on the training process will be held this week between medical superintendents of all four mental hospitals and the health department.