Mental health is in alarming state in India, needed urgent steps to bridge the mental health care gap–Dr. Madhusudan Singh Solanki

World mental health day was celebrated on 10th october 2018 at Max Smart Saket New Delhi, addressing on the occasion senior consultant psychiatrist Dr Madhusudan Singh Solanki emphasized how young people in our country are succumbing to mental health issues and how large is the treatment gap.The seminar was attended by esteemed doctors from Max Hospital and delegates from outside. Dr Madhusudan used music, song and movies to highlight and make the doctors understand what a mentally ill person goes through and how the symptoms can be recognized. Dr Solanki emphasized the importance of recognition of mental health issues by physicians and doctors from other specialties as people often hesitate to seek psychiatric help due to stigma and lack of awareness. They are the ones who can help greatly reduce the stigma and motivate patients to seek help.

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He added –Mental health issues are on the rise due to social change, migration, unemployment, loneliness, work/educational stress, dissonance in aspirations and capabilities and rising substance use. Biological factors like genetics and neurotransmitter disturbances (Serotonin, dopamine and many others) also play a significant role as do the psychological factors like your temperament, coping styles and cognitive errors and defense mechanisms. But almost all mental health disorders are fairly treatable and most of the patients live a quality life with treatment. He also dispelled the widely held myth that “all medicines used to treat mental health issues are addictive and are just sedatives”, the fact is that apart from the sleeping pills–which most patient take without hesitation and physicians also readily prescribe (for eg. how many people you know who have taken something like alprazolam and have been taking it for a long time) none of the other medicines are habit forming. However he also emphasized the importance of correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment tailored according to the patient profile and that can include counseling, psychotherapy and medications depending upon what suits the patient and how severe is the condition and what can provide the greatest relief based on the latest scientific evidence. It is alarming that more than 75% of people suffering from mental health disorders in our country remain untreated, this is a huge gap. “There is an urgent need to address the mental health treatment gap in our country” he stressed.

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