‘Mental illness is not a choice but recovery is’

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Chandigarh, May 17, : Prof BS Chavan, Director Principal GMCH, during his lecture on ‘Home Based Psychiatric Rehabilitation’ stated that approximately 13 percent of Chandigarh population above 18 years of age is suffering from diagnosable common mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, OCD, stress related and adjustment disorders) and another 1 percent  has severe mental illness (National Mental health Survey 2016).Dr Chavan further shared that approximately 80 percent persons are not seeking treatment and are home bound. Majority of them ( 50-70 percent) have moderate to severe disability. Under the Mental health Care Act ( 2017), Home Based mental health care and rehabilitation is right of a person who can access services from a hospital. Although there are no model available, but the Dept with assistance from Parivartan NGO is providing crisis (violence due to mental illness, drug overdose, suicidal attempt and gross personal neglect) and home based care for persons who have dropped out, person with mental illness who is unable to come to hospital due to physical disability and homeless and wandering persons.

He was speaking at the Two-day Sixth National Conference of World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR)- Indian Chapter. The conference was inaugurated by Justice Jitendra Chauhan, Punjab and Haryana High Court in the presence of Prof BS Chavan, Director Principal GMCH, Dr C Ramasubramanian, President of WAPR –IC, Dr Mathew Varghese, Vice President, Dr Nitin Gupta, organizing secretary of the conference.The conference is being hosted from 17-18th May by Dept of Psychiatry, Govt. Medical College & Hospital The conference is being attended by around 250 delegates comprising of various interdisciplinary professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and trainees working in the field of mental health.

The scientific programme of the conference which included various invited lectures, symposiums and workshops etc translated the very mission of the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation: Indian Chapter that strives to pave the way for advocacy for mental-health care, develop policy and create awareness about mental illness. Professor Mohan Issac who is an eminent consultant of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, Fremantle, Australia talked in the theme symposium on the evolution of the ‘Mental Hospital/ Chronicity Based’ concept of Psychosocial Rehabilitation.

A lecture by C. Ramasubramanian, President, WAPR (Indian Chapter) highlighted the contributory role of Information Technology and Telemedicine in the various models of rehabilitation. Professor B.S. Chavan presented his experience of Model of Home-Based Rehabilitation under MHCA, 2017 in terms of feasibility and barriers. There was a workshop on Community based Rehabilitation for Intellectual Disability.

Special invited workshops on needs of caregivers, support and training of caregivers of persons with mental disorders has been planned only for caregivers was highly appreciated.  Another workshop was deliberated specially for the service users i.e patients. Approximately 40 patients attended this workshop and expressed their unfulfilled Needs & aspirations during available treatment. Around 55 papers will be presented during this conference. This is first time that patients and their family members are the delegates in the conference.

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