Delayed marriages, slumping businesses and even deaths have been linked to demonetisation. But could the Centre’s move be having an impact on mental health too? This is one of the crucial questions psychiatrists from across the globe will discuss this week, when India hosts the World Congress of Social Psychiatry.
The National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) at AIIMS and the Indian Association for Social Psychiatry will host more than 130 psychiatrists between November 30 and December 4.
The topics will revolve around the theme of “social psychiatry in a rapidly changing world”.
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Discussion and workshops will focus on mental health, the family burden of mental disorders, and rehabilitation of people with mental illnesses.
The issue of how demonetisation has impacted mental health will also figure in the discussions.
“There will be scientific sessions on a broad range of topics — deliberations that will help devise strategies to find solutions to many issues related to mental health. In this context, we would also discuss the impact of demonetisation on mental health in India,” said Dr Sudhir Khandelwal, chief, NDDTC.
“At present, there is no empirical evidence on demonetisation and its impact on mental health. But there are instances of marriages being delayed or people losing their jobs. In such situations, people might experience anxiety, stress and adjustment-related issues. There are long-term impacts of such a problem, and patients have to be sensitised on how to handle such situations,” Dr Khandelwal said.
The discussion will also focus on how previous policy decisions have caused a burden on mental health, as well as on sensitising the population in such situations.
“There have been studies on Afghan refugees and the impact on mental health. There are also studies on political coups in different countries that have impacted the mental health of a population. The sudden change in regimes in countries have resulted in increase in burden on mental health. We will use this existing literature and discuss how demonetisation will impact mental health,” Dr Khandelwal said.