Thursday, February 20, 2020


Manipur tops rest of country in mental illness rate
IFP Bureau | First Published: November 17, 2019 16:22:49 pm
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Manipur exceeds national highest prevalence rate of mental illness. Yet the State has not been able to establish any mental hospital till date. This is despite the Supreme Court’s 2002 order to set up at least one such hospital in every state.

According to the report of National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16, the State has a lifetime prevalence rate of 19.9 percent whereas the national rate of the country is 13.9 percent. In terms of current prevalence rate, the State alone has 13.9 percent and while the rest of the country is 10.5 percent.

The report also shows that one percent of total population is affected by severe types of mental diseases. One percent is affected with epilepsy while 2-3 percent is affected by mental retardation. Besides this, it also reported that the high treatment gap for mental disorder is prevalent with the rate of 86 percent.

In an interaction with the Imphal Free Press, director Health Services, Dr K Rajo said that due to lack of well-equipped mental hospital in the State, many mentally ill patients who are not manageable at home are suffering at lot. To address such inconveniences, the State has taken initiatives to establish a full-fledged 60-bedded state mental hospital soon, he said.

He further said that even the present government admitted that mental disorder is serious cause of concern. Above this, it is mandatory to have a mental hospital in every states of India as per SC order, he added.

Informing the initiative taken up by state government, he said that the matter was discussed in the cabinet meeting on September 13, 2019 and approved to set up with the budget of Rs 40 crore. Besides this, 8.10 acres of land at 76-Salam Keikhu, Lamsang Imphal West was also allotted, he added.

Due to lack of money, steps could not be taken up practically, he further said. Meanwhile, health directorate is also seeking financial support from North East Special Infrastructure Development Schemes to materialise the plan soon, he added.

Stating about the present treatment facilities available in the State, he said though the State does not have any mental hospital, but with the available limited resources, the authorities concerned is dealing this issue at their best level. 

Dr Rajo further said so far, this health issue is being dealt by psychiatric department of JNIMS and RIMS. They are also working in 81 Health and Wellness centres set up under Ayushman Bharat, 424 primary health sub centres, 85 primary health centres and 17 community health centres. On top of this, district nodal officers for seven districts under National Mental Health Programmes have been appointed, he further informed.

For effective implementation of all mental health programmes, there is a mental health authority under directorate of Health Services, he added.

While mentioning the reason of high treatment gap, he said that non-availability of mental hospital and social stigma are the root causes of having high treatment gap.

“The department concerned is extending efforts to curb mental disorders but absence of well-established hospitals makes the service incomplete. The problem of mental illness will not be solved even with establishment of hospital unless social stigma is abolished,” he stated.

On the other hand, under the department of Social Welfare, four halfway homes are functioning in the State with financial support from ministry of social justice and empowerment.

By Phurailatpam Keny Devi | IMPHAL

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