Make Psychiatry integral part of MBBS Course

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Make Psychiatry integral part of MBBS Course

The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) has called for declaring psychiatry as one of the ‘subjects with examination’ for the MBBS programme in the country.

Speaking to media persons at Kottayam, Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, president – elect of IPS; Varghese P Punnoose, State secretary; and V. Satheesh, head of the department of psychiatry, Kottayam Government Medical College, said that under the present curriculum, medical students need not sit for examination in the subject.

Their involvement with the subject is confined to 20 lectures and 15 days of clinical experience during house surgeoncy.

Given the inadequacy in the availability of psychiatrists, authorities should take immediate steps to make the subject one of the compulsory subjects with examination.

Currently, the country has only 4,000 psychiatrists to serve the 1.3 billion population. This is grossly inadequate, they said.

The IPS leaders pointed out that out of the 10 diseases that produce most disability, five are related to mental health viz. depression, schizophrenia, dementia, epilepsy, and mental retardation.

In fact, depression comes second only to cardiovascular diseases in the list. This stresses the need for having more psychiatric professionals and also at the peripheral health dispensation centres.

As such, the authorities should take steps to provide psychiatric professionals at the taluk level centres, they said.

The IPS leaders also called for extending the National Mental Health Programme to all the districts in the country.

In the backdrop of the special situation prevailing in the State, the State government should take the initiative to bring all the districts in the State under the programme, they said.