India’s cheapest mental health care model launched in Nagaland
Dimapur, June 10 (EMN): In an attempt to provide psychiatric consultation, counselling and therapy, psycho-education and medications at a very minimal cost, Serendip Guardians is conducting mental health camp in collaboration with project Mental Illness Treatment Alliance (MITA) at the Government Higher Secondary School Campus in Chümoukedima at 11:30 am today, Saturday.
It is a monthly programme be to held every 3rd Saturday and was officially launched at Little Hut conference hall in Chümoukedima on Friday in the presences of Deputy Commissioner of the district, Abhinav Shivan.
Speaking at the launch event, community psychiatrist Dr. Nilesh Mohite dubbed the health camp as ‘India’s cheapest mental health care model’ with international standards and sans government or agency funding.
He said there are not many psychiatrists in Nagaland, and the treatment gap across India is roughly 85 to 87% while it is almost 95% in the Northeast.
To bridge this gap, he said, they were organising the monthly mental health camp with a nominal fee of INR 400 per month, which included a full month’s worth of medicine as well as consultation and counselling.
He informed that it will also offer a dedicated helpline for patients, and their mission is to provide mental health treatment to anyone who exhibits symptoms such as insomnia, aggression, repetitive thoughts and actions, suspicion, loss of appetite, hallucination, excessive cleanliness, migrant, hyperactive disorder, dementia, addiction, schizophrenia, and so on.
Diagnosing a patient with mental illness and administering medication is simple but the patients are often readmitted for same problem because of neglecting their medication, said Mohite while lamenting that many are reluctant to seek treatment for this chronic ailment because of reasons like stigma, superstition, lack of awareness, and shortage of skilled mental health workers.
Speaking on the occasion, Shivan said people are so aloof that they are unaware of mental illness existence and the taboos surrounding those seeking treatment is a matter of concern. Social stigma is the first stumbling block and many a time, problem that is as small as peanuts take the shape and size of mountains, he said.
He also suggests that the organisers of the camp conduct a pilot project in a few of villages by interacting with the residents and consider restructuring the programme from its current format to suit the villagers.
Director of Serendip Guardians, Rini Ghose said that the organisation is a small one located at 7th Mile, Chümoukedima, and has been working on mental health since 2014.
Till date, the organisation has reached out to about 9000 people from different age groups and backgrounds from Nagaland and beyond, he informed.
She added that based on their years of experience, they cannot segregate curative mental health from preventive mental health as much as they talk about awareness, counselling, therapy and training since there is a great need for curative mental health as well.
‘There is a great deal of stigma and lack of understanding surrounding mental illness, and even many who are aware are unaware that treatment is available, where to go, or even how to afford it,’ she continued.
About 12 to 13% of the population suffers from mental health concerns, and there are at least 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh people in Nagaland who require mental health care and support, she said, adding that it is a collective responsibility to reach out to the people in need.