Karnataka facing shortage of Psychiatrists: Dr Ashok Pai
Belgaum, Jan 30 : Karnataka Mental Health Task Force Chairperson Dr Ashok Pai today said the State is facing shortage of psychiatrists.
There are around 250 psychiatrists, 200 clinical psychologists and same member of psychiatric social workers in the State, he added.
Speaking to newsmen, after a meeting with officials, Dr Pai said most of the psychiatric social workers have given up their trained discipline and accepted other career options. Many district with an average population of 15 to 20 lakh do not have basic mental health care facilities.
He said there are only about 250 to 300 inpatient beds collectively in all hospital excluding NIMHANS, Bangalore and Dharwad Mental Hospital.
Dr Pai said hardly 50 psychiatrists are trained annually (30 MD and 20 DPM) in Karnataka state, most of whom choose to go abroad for better opportunities. "Our ambition will make Karnataka a model mental health state, mainly to propagate the concept of positive mental health through psycho-education, educate people to identify primary mental health symptoms, differentiate psychosis and neurosis for early referral to mental health professional, start schools for the residential care of the mentally retarded children in each district with approximate 50 inmates and many others. He added.
He said establishment of mental health task force to reach the needy and provide affordable mental health services is a must.
He said many socio-economic problems which require mental health Medicare are increased incidence of suicides, religious malpractices, Nude worship, devadasi systems, drought-economic stress and farmers suicides, increasing crime against women and children (child sex, acid attacks on women), Alcohol and drug abuse amongst youth and many more things.
Dr Pai appealed to the state and central government to release sufficient funds for Mental Health Task Force.