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Timeout is must for carers of psychiatric patients,say experts

According to doctors in the city,caregivers of psychiatric patients must take out time for themselves and discuss their problems with someone they trust to remain healthy.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: October 12, 2013 2:34:35 am

According to doctors in the city,caregivers of psychiatric patients must take out time for themselves and discuss their problems with someone they trust to remain healthy.

On World Mental Health Day,a seminar was organised by the Department of Psychiatry,GMCH-32,in collaboration with local NGOs on ‘burnout among caregivers of psychiatric patients’.

Colonel Mehndiratta,president of NGO Prayatan,spoke about the shortage of mental health professionals in the country,while highlighting issues like burden,stigma,isolation that caregivers faced.

Dr Chavan,Professor and Head of Department of Psychiatry said ‘caregiver burnout’ was a state of physical,emotional and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude – from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.

Caregivers who are ‘burned out’ may experience fatigue,stress,anxiety,guilt and depression. Dr Chavan briefly discussed symptoms of ‘caregiver burnout’ such as withdrawal from friends,family,and other loved ones,loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed,feeling irritable and helpless. In a session with caregivers,he discussed steps to prevent a burnout. According to Dr Chavan,a caregiver should set realistic goals,accept they may need help and turn to others for help with some tasks besides setting aside time for themselves.

Towards the end,Alka Sharma from state legal services authority talked about the legal rights of the psychiatric patients. Sharma also talked about some provisions of the Mental Health Act.

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