Over 3.8 million receive mental health treatment in Karnataka.

State Mental Health Clinics in Karnataka Successfully Treat Over 38 Lakh People in Four Years

A recent report indicates that over the past four years, more than 38 lakh individuals have received treatment and counseling for mental health issues at State-run mental health clinics in district hospitals and medical colleges within Karnataka. According to data provided by the Health Department during the winter session of the State legislature, the number of people seeking treatment and counseling for mental illnesses has been consistently high.

Staffing Challenges in Mental Health Facilities

Data revealed that there are 71 sanctioned posts for psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and psychiatric social workers in district hospitals. However, 19 of these posts remain vacant. Additionally, out of the 244 sanctioned posts for outsourced employees, 32 are also vacant, posing a significant staffing challenge in providing adequate mental health care services.

Common Mental Health Disorders

Rajani P, the State Deputy Director of Mental Health, reported that over 10% of individuals treated and counseled at government centers have reported common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCDs). The number of mental health consultations continues to rise, with a notable increase in suicide attempt cases.

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Dr. Rajani emphasized the need to prioritize counseling and treatment for individuals at risk of repeat suicide attempts. The State’s mental health facilities in district hospitals and medical college hospitals have been instrumental in providing free treatment, counseling, and medication to individuals suffering from mental health disorders and aiding in their rehabilitation.

Expansion of Mental Health Programs

Under the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP), Karnataka has been proactive in assigning dedicated psychiatrists as team leaders in all districts. Additionally, efforts are underway to train all PHC doctors to provide the initial line of treatment.

The Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (Ka-BHI), currently operational in select districts, aims to extend its services to all districts within the state. Dr. Rajani highlighted the successful implementation of brain health clinics, with plans to establish additional clinics in all district hospitals in the coming weeks.

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Mental Health Services

Recognizing the need to enhance treatment and prevent neurological disorders in the community, the Health Department, in collaboration with NIMHANS and Niti Aayog, launched the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (Ka-BHI) in January last year. The initiative has gained momentum, with the establishment of brain health clinics and ongoing recruitment efforts to expand its reach.

In conclusion, the efforts to address mental health challenges in Karnataka are evident, with a focus on expanding mental health programs, improving staffing in mental health facilities, and collaborating with leading institutions to enhance mental health services in the state. The success of these initiatives is reflected in the significant number of individuals receiving treatment and counseling for mental health issues, indicating positive progress in mental health care within the region.

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