India to turn out 1,750 mental health workers a year

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New Delhi: The central government Wednesday announced a health scheme to address the problem of acute shortage of doctors and health workers for mental health disorders, saying India will produce 1,756 such practitioners, including 520 doctors, every year.

'We know there is an acute shortage of human resource and we are putting in place a mental health scheme. The outcome of this scheme is 1,756 mental health professionals annually, which includes 104 psychiatrists and 416 clinical psychologists,' Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

He said the above list also has 416 psychiatric social workers and 820 psychiatric nurses for handling mental disorder patients. Azad said nearly seven percent of Indians face common mental health problems but only two percent face acute problem needing proper medical treatment.

He said under the mental health scheme worth Rs.1,000 crore, 11 existing mental health hospitals are being upgraded and strengthened to produce qualified manpower. 'Rs.30 crore per centre will be given for academic block, library, hostel, laboratories, supportive departments and lecture theaters,' the minister said.

An additional 44 post-graduate seats in psychiatry, 176 M.Phil seats in clinical psychology and psychiatric social work and 220 seats in diploma in psychiatric nursing will be available every year, he added.

Azad also said that assistance would be provided for setting up and strengthening of 30 units of psychiatry, 30 departments of clinical psychology, 30 departments of psycho-social worker and 30 departments of psychiatric nursing. The central government will provide Rs.5.1 million to Rs 10 million per PG department for the purpose.


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