Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar Friday said that the number of people suffering from neurological and mental health issues has increased in the past 10 years. He was speaking at a function at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru held to celebrate the progress of Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (KaBHI) which was launched in January.
Asserting that a person is completely healthy only if his or her mental health is good, the minister pointed out there has been an increase in dementia, strokes and head injury cases. “According to statistics, about 7 to 8 per cent of deaths are due to mental health and brain related issues which is the second leading cause of death. It is not important how long we live, what is important is how well we live. Brain-related illnesses are also increasing due to non-communicable diseases,” the minister said.
KaBHI is being jointly implemented by Karnataka health department and NIMHANS with the guidance from NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog with a goal to develop an evidence-based public health model for prevention and equitable care for neurological disorders across primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health care.
Under the programme, 122 primary health care (PHC) doctors from the three districts of Kolar, Chikkaballapura, and Bangalore South were trained by NIMHANS specialists to treat common neurological diseases.
“The Government of India is conducting a national campaign on mental illness through the T-Manas tele-counseling platform. The T-Manas platform launched by the central government was based on the E-Manas platform launched by Karnataka earlier. The state government is already doing a pilot project in Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Bengaluru Rural districts with the help of NIMHANS through hub and spoke model. A plan has been made to make this service available in all parts of the state in the coming days,” Sudhakar said.
He also said that under the KaBHI, ASHA workers will also be trained to counsel and treat those in distress.
Dr P Rajani, Deputy Director, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka said that there has been a significant improvement in terms of the knowledge of the 122 PHC doctors who received training in neurological disorders. “We have also set up Brain Health Clinics which is one of its kind developed for neuro care at secondary care hospitals. These clinics ensure that patients with the neurological disease receive treatment and appropriate referral for chronic conditions at district general hospitals,” Dr P Rajani said.