Jammu, July 2 (IANS) Kashmir's Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma has announced opening of mental health clinics in five of the 10 districts in Jammu region.
The six million people in the region have only three specialist doctors in the only government psychiatry hospital in Jammu city. The hospital's OPD gets about 250 patients per day.
The clinics, sponsored under the National Mental Health programme, will come up in Gandhi Nagar, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Rajouri districts.
An itial funding of Rs.25 lakh will be given to these health facilities and each clinic will have one doctor, who will be trained by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Banglore, according to Sharma.
Studies show that about five percent population of any region may suffer from acute mental disorders, while 15-20 percent from mild disorders, according to an official at the Jammu psychiatry hospital.
The number of mentally ill patients have grown in the state due to over two decades of militancy, the official said.
Patients do not get treated in the initial stage of disorders due to non-availability of psychiatrists in these districts. They are brought in for treatment only when the illness gets acute, a doctor said.
Besides civilian patients, the Jammu hospital has also been treating referral cases from police, para-military and army, the doctor added.
With no post-graduation in psychiatry offered in the Jammu Medical College, the government will have to work hard to cover the inadequacies, the doctor said.