SRINAGAR: There has been a steep rise in the number of mental health patients from few thousand in early 90s to lakhs during the last over two decades in Kashmir valley, which has witnessed armed insurgency and violence in the last 25 years.
Meanwhile, inadequate number of mental health counselling clinics in Kashmir valley has also added to the sufferings of the patients already consumed by this illness.
Non-availability of lady doctors and counsellors to treat woman patients in rural areas has also played an important role in increasing the numbers of such patients by many folds.
In the year 1970 about 1000 mental health patients would visit health clinics, which went up to 40,000 in the year 2002 and touched almost one lakh in 2006, J&K Voluntary Health Association (JKVHA) Executive Director, A M Mir, a retired IAS Officer, informed.
This steep rise in mental health patients is alarming, Mir said, adding that 19 per cent depression was observed in the community during 2005 and it might be much more at present.
Mir further said that there is a tremendous growth of mental health patients in the Valley and the JKVHA appreciates the steps taken by the Government for providing women mental health clinics at SMHS Hospital Srinagar.
JKVHA has actually been pleading for these steps since the year 2002 when MSF was working in collaboration with them in the field for providing mental health counseling to the Health workers through whom it would approach the patients at their door steps. Seeing the Mental Health problems related to women in rural areas JKVHA had highlighted the growing mental health needs amongst the women folk in Kashmir way back, as such mental health counselling clinics should be set up early in all Districts and Sub-District level hospitals.
The local culture and social constraints prevent ailing women with multiple problems to reveal to male doctors their problems for treatment. They are reluctant to share about their domestic violence, menstrual dysphasia, post menopausal syndromes, pregnancy psychiatric illness, substance abuse, cause of miscarriage, beating by husbands, mental torture by in-laws for not giving birth to a male child etc, he said.
As such there is a dire need to attend to this aspect of ailment of women in the state, he said.
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