Psychiatrists from Mumbai urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold mental health camps every quarter for Parliamentarians. “We need to hold the issue by the jugular. The camps can screen for emotional distress/illness and also have various activities to build positive mental health,” they said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Renowned psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty said that the big question is whether everyone will participate as the opposition had boycotted the mental health workshop organised for all MLAs of Goa Assembly. But it is never late as fence sitters and those who want to politicise the issue will slowly join. He said mental health awareness is a secular issue and the need of the hour for all.
“One in seven in India and one in eight across the world are mentally ill for which advocacy, awareness and intervention can unite political parties. I have conducted such awareness workshops for elected representatives of several states, including Gujarat, on behalf of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini Training Institute,” said Dr Shetty, adding that he was pleasantly surprised that elected representatives lapped it up with genuine interest.
Dr Shetty said, “A mental health camp goes a step further where the assessment of one’s mental state through simple tests can be conducted. This is just like a screening camp for diabetes, hypertension, thalassaemia or cancer. When the top guys are the first movers, the janta will follow.”
Dr Shetty Stresses On Promotion Of Mental Health Awareness By Top Guys
Dr Shetty said he, along with an activist, started mental health camps at railway stations nearly two decades ago, which received an overwhelming response. “The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry can also follow suit. If the top guns and honchos across all borders make mental health screening popular, we will save many lives all over the country,” he said.
Dr Shetty said nearly 35 students die by suicide every day in India, and that they all want to speak but there are no listeners. “We are in the midst of a mental health epidemic. We need a campaign,” he said, adding that in schools counsellors are not supposed to sit in their rooms. “They should be reaching out to students in classrooms, talking about anger, love and emotions. Eventually, students will come back with their problems,” he said