‘Nearly 12.8% of State’s population had mental health issues’
Mental health literacy is important to recognise mental health problems, their symptoms, and illnesses, Minister for Health Veena George has said.
She was inaugurating online a seminar organised by the Psychiatry department of Government Medical College Hospital, Kerala chapter of the Indian Psychiatric Society, and the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad in connection with World Mental Health Day observance at the medical college here on Sunday.
Mental health, the Minister said, was just as important as physical health. People sought timely treatment for physical ailments but a majority were unable to recognise mental health problems and seek scientific treatment for them. This was because they did not have precise knowledge about mental health. Inaccurate beliefs and superstitions also abounded.
Nearly 12.8% of the State’s population had mental health problems that required scientific treatment. However, of them only 15% sought such treatment. This was not owing to lack of treatment centres. But people did not reach these centres.
Need to intensify
In such a situation, it became essential to intensify mental health literacy activities, and the Health department was taking up this mission with public support, Ms. George said.
People were undergoing a lot of stress owing to socio-economic changes brought about by COVID-19. There were changes on the education front too. Development of children with social interventions had been more or less lost. The Health Department was considering intensifying all activities related to mental health from the primary health level itself. The functioning of mental health centres and Psychiatry departments of medical colleges would be strengthened and research prioritised, the Minister said.
The inauguration of a training programme ‘Sneha Kavacham’ designed by the Kerala chapter of the Indian Psychiatric Society to address digital addiction was held on the occasion. The programme is aimed at students, teachers, and parents. Society Kerala chapter president Radhakrishnan presided over the event.
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