One in every five patients in Mumbai suffers psychiatric problems and five per cent of all health problems could be attributed to poor mental health,revealed a gap analysis survey conducted by BMC. Also,nearly 90 per cent of patients suffering from mental illnesses had not found help,the survey found.
BMC Wednesday launched a 24X7 helpline Life is Beautiful or Hitguj to help citizens cope with rising stress levels. Citizens can call the helpline on 24131212. BMC sources said anonymity of all callers would be maintained.
The survey found apart from major non-communicable diseases,such as cancer and diabetes,depression is a major health issue. Many cases go undetected and peoples mindset is against visiting psychiatrists, said Dr Manisha Mhaiskar,additional municipal commissioner in-charge of civic public health.
The helpline is run by psychiatry department of KEM Hospital and is manned by two counsellors who will work in three shifts. It will also refer cases to police or emergency psychiatry division of KEM,Nair and Sion hospitals.
Psychiatry OPDs has been set up in each of the 24 ward dispensaries. Over a one-year period,all peripheral dispensaries will be trained to handle minor psychiatry cases.
The helpline will initiate primary interaction with those seeking help, said Dr Shubhangi Parkar,in-charge of psychiatry ward,KEM Hospital.
Mhaiskar added the helpline would also counsel students and take calls from those suffering domestic abuse.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu,who inaugurated the helpline,said,We hope such initiatives can ease the daily tensions every Mumbaikar faces.