Updated: July 20, 2021 9:03:57 am
DR MOHAN Agashe, noted actor and founder director of Maharashtra Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) on Monday said he was happy to see the institute shift to a new location during his lifetime.
“I have fought tooth and nail to ensure that land approved for persons with mental disorders and their rehabilitation was not taken away from us,” Dr Agashe, who inaugurated the OPD services at the new building on the Pashan campus of MIMH, told The Indian Express.
The institute was set up in 1991 and was initially known as State Training and Research Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences under the leadership of Dr Agashe. “After the institute was set up, for the first five-six years things were moving at a fast pace as there was administrative and political will. But since then we have faced difficult times. Time and again efforts were made to snatch away the land from us,” Dr Agashe added.
At present, MIMH is located on the campus of BJ Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital. It has taken three decades for the final phase-wise shifting and relocation of the institute.
“I was scared that the land would be lost that was given towards the care and rehabilitation of mentally ill patients. After retirement, I gave up hope that it would take place in my lifetime. I really appreciate the efforts by the people in the service now for making it possible during my lifetime,” he said.
The institute was designated as a Centre of Excellence in the field of mental health by the Union government in 2011. Over the years, the additional charge of the institute has been managed by subsequent heads of the department of psychiatry at BJ Medical College.
Dr Ajay Chandanwale, joint director at the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, who has the additional charge as the director of MIMH along with others, has been instrumental in getting works expedited.
Dr Niteen Abhivant, head of the department of psychiatry at BJ Medical College and chief administrative officer at MIMH, said the building was constructed on the 7.5-acre campus of MIMH at Pashant.
“The OPD services have begun from today and the institute has also got approval from the Rehabilitation Council of India for introducing an MPhil course in clinical psychology,” he said. The state-level institute is also conducting different course in mental health, including MPhil in psychiatric social work – (the first batch passed out recently).
Apart from the OPD services, the building will also have a daycare centre where persons with mental disorders will be engaged in group therapy and provided other interventions free of cost. The aim is to rehabilitate them in society, Dr Abhivant said. At least 16 teaching faculty posts are likely to be approved at MIMH. Efforts are also underway to collaborate with National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences to start academic and research-related activities.
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