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About 10 per cent of Delhi’s population suffer from mental illnesses: Study

On World Mental Health Day,they said the city needed more psychiatrists to address the issue.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi |
October 11, 2012 1:13:05 am

The Capital is seeing a rise in the number of people suffering from mental health problems,particularly suicidal tendencies,even among the economically weaker sections,doctors said.

On World Mental Health Day,they said the city needed more psychiatrists to address the issue.

Dr Nimesh Desai,Director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS),said: “In Delhi,8-10 per cent of the population suffers from some form of diagnosed mental illness. This includes depression,anxiety disorders,bipolar disorders,alcoholism and phobias,among others.”

He said 50 per cent of patients suffer from depression. “Of the patients diagnosed with depression in Delhi,around 10-15 per cent are likely to commit suicide at some point,while 40-50 per cent attempt suicide,” Desai said.

A community-based study,conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the city,to assess suicidal behaviour from 2004-2010,found a life-long prevalence of possible suicidal tendencies in 11.1 per cent of the population.

“What’s more surprising is that more than one third of them have no previous history of psychiatric disorders. Almost 40 per cent of suicidal thoughts are not associated with any psychiatric disorders — unlike the belief common among mental health practitioners and the public,” Desai said.

This,experts said,indicates the role of other risk factors like “stress of daily living,including issues related to urbanisation and other social changes.”

The study was spread over 11 colonies of different socio-economic strata. Data was collected from 100 households in each colony.

Two colonies were from South Delhi — Sriniwaspuri and Gautam Nagar. Two were unauthorised colonies from East Delhi with middle income groups — Pandav Nagar and Ganesh Nagar.

Two colonies were from Walled City with low- and middle-income groups — Nai Sarak and Jama Masjid. One was a slum colony from East Delhi with a low-income group and two were from Southwest Delhi with middle-income group — Vikaspuri and Hari Nagar.

Shalimar Bagh from North Delhi with a middle- and upper-income group population and Pitampura from Northwest Delhi with a middle- and higher-income group population were the other colonies studied.

According to government estimates,Delhi has only 250-odd psychiatrists,against an estimated requirement of at least one lakh.

In another three-state ICMR study from 2004-09,spread over a sample size of 10,600 people in Delhi,Lucknow and Chennai,doctors found that between 77-82 per cent of patients with diagnosed mental health problem,who needed clinical help,do not seek treatment.

“There is a problem of shortage of specialists and there is a total lack of awareness. The study found that,among the urban poor,the treatment gap is because of a lack of awareness about their affliction as a health problem and the availability of mental health services,” Desai said.

IBHAS to train docs to handle psychiatric cases

There are only 3,500-odd registered psychiatrists in the country,against of an estimated requirement of 6 lakh. To address the problem,IHBAS,together with ICMR and the Indian Medical Association (IMA),has prepared an 18-hour module for training around 4 lakh general practitioners to treat basic mental health problems. Experts feel this resource pool can play a huge role in addressing the rising number of mental health cases. The first batch of doctors is expected to be trained from Delhi soon.

22-year-old tries to kill self

A twenty-two-year old student of Swami Shraddhanand College allegedly attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the Jahangirpuri Metro station on Wednesday afternoon. According to police,he was depressed over a love affair. He was rushed to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital. His condition is stable,police said.

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