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Mental illness on the rise in Manipur

Imphal, May 23: As a result of the prevailing law and order situation in the state, many people have suffered minor mental illnessness. The rate of prevalence of mental illness is 40% to 50 %, said experts who spoke at a one-day awareness programme on mental health held at Khumbong, Imphal West today.

The awareness programme was organized by the All Manipur Nupi Marup, Konthoujam area under the sponsorship of the Manipur State Mental Health Authority.

Speaking at the programme, Dr RK Kumar, psychiatrist of JNIMS hospital and also member secretary of Manipur State Mental Health Authority expressed concern over the status of the mental health of the people of the trouble torn state where killings, kidnappings, shootings, bomb blasts and harassments are almost daily occurrences, minor mental illnesses are therefore understandably prevalent.

In such a situation, if a mental hospital is not set up and steps are not taken to treat mentally affected people free of cost, the problems could worsen in the days to come, he said.

Considering the importance of improving the mental health condition of the people, the Union ministry of Health & Family Welfare had launched the mental health awareness programme in 1996. However, the same was introduced in Manipur only in 2000.

Since the programme was for a five years period, the same had concluded in 2005 for the state. However, keeping in view of the need for continuation of the programme, the state government re-launched the programme in 2010 in three districts, Imphal East, Imphal West and Thoubal districts, under the aegis of the Manipur Mental Health Authority.

However, due to fund constraince, the programme could not be conducted in a mass scale despite its importance for the state, Dr Kumar further said.

Most of the mental related diseases are hereditary and the illnessness are caused by brain tumors, head injuries and alcoholism, he added.

Speaking as resource person, Dr Tayenjam Surajkumar said that people attribute mental illnesses to supernatural causes but they are actually mostly psychiatric illnesses.

He said that psychiatric problems are due to disorder in parts of the brain which can be treated by doctors. He also said that psychiatric problems can be addressed by implementing and promoting mental care in the primary level.

The opening function of the awareness programme was attended by Sulochana, medical officer Khumbong PHC, Dr Imoba, clinical physiologist and M Sakhi, vice president of All Manipur Nupi Samaj among others.

Source:- Hueyen News Service