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Institute of Psychiatry chosen as nodal agency for training program
It is an established fact that mentally challenged patients were always deprived of their fundamental rights in various hospitals across the state, but with Institute of Psychiatry being chosen as the nodal agency, these patients will finally receive proper care at the hands of trained staff.

FINALLY THE human rights of mental patients will be given priority in West Bengal – thanks to an awareness drive that has been intensified by the West Bengal Government. The health department has become more vibrant and initiated a series of sensitisation programmes to enhance the awareness about the health rights of the patients suffering mental problems. Pertinent to mention, about 6-7% of the total population of the state suffers from mental and behavioural disorders.

Third oldest surviving mental hospital of the country, 194-year-old, The Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) claims to have 'a colourful history in Mental Health of India'. The state, at present, has six hospitals exclusively for mental health, eleven government medical colleges and 16 district hospitals. Seven subdivisional hospitals have mental health treatment centres and NGOs run psychiatry consultation at five hospitals.

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of the State of West Bengal, upgraded this Observation Ward to the status of a regular full-scale mental hospital with 30 beds including 10 observation beds in 1950. In 1989 it was incorporated as the teaching, training and research wing of the Department of Psychiatry of the Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research. In the same year it was identified as the United Nations International Drug Control Programme’s Nodal Centre by the Ministry of Health, Govt. of India and in 1991, the name was changed to Institute of Psychiatry.

The training to be imparted will enrich the nursing and paramedical staff. The constant and massive inflow of different types of patients from all over the state (and outside too), hailing from varied socio-cultural backgrounds, seek treatment from this premier institution. Currently different OPD facilities are available like General Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, Alcohol and Drug De- addiction Clinic, Sexual Counselling Clinic, Forensic Psychiatry Clinic, OCD Clinic, Mood Disorder Clinic, Geriatric Clinic, Life Skill Education Clinic for Adolescent along with Clinical Psychology, Psychiatric Social Work and Psychiatric Nursing Services. All these opportunities make this place an ideal arena for the development of a holistic and comprehensive mental health programme.

It is a new feather in the cap of IOP that the West Bengal Health Service will act as the nodal agency for conducting the training programme and arrange for the overall supervision of the sensitization programmes. The Medical Superintendent of the IOP, Dr. Jayanta Basu told the media: “The aim of this training programme is to handle the suspected and detected patients of mental health with compassion”.

On September 12, a training session was organized with the nursing staff from the hospitals and departments of mental health at the IOP as part of this mass sensitization program. Dr. Basu said, “We are also working on improving the quality of stay at the mental health hospitals and departments by installing uninterrupted power supply and diagnostic facilities.” Henceforth, staff from other hospitals and medical centres can also avail the opportunity for this training, which will enrich them more to deal in a more educated way and more sympathetically with the patients. The IOP specialists will supervise them and offer training besides doing their own duties.

The Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee for the last few months insisted on the improvement of the healthcare facilities in the state hospitals. Now the patients in the state hospitals undergoing treatment for mental ailments can get better medical attention. The nursing and paramedical staff after being properly trained will be able to offer better services to the mentally challenged patients.

Normally these patients were found in a bad condition in various hospitals across the state. Health officials do not take their proper care and dump them in one room for the paucity of space. Some hospitals do not have trained nurses and they end up with mistakes. The training staff are not well aware of the behavioural situations of such patients. In most cases, they behave roughly with the patients and show impatience.

The most common disruptive behavior disorders in children include oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Treatment can include therapy, education and medication. Here the trained nurses and paramedical staff can play a very important role during the treatment of such patients.

Presently, the Institute of Psychiatry is functioning as full-fledged Postgraduate Psychiatric Educational and Service. Recently this institute was identified as Center of Excellence for manpower development in Mental Health under National Mental Health Programme by government of India. The Institute will now carry on a big responsibility by acting as a Nodal Agency for the Eastern region. Organizations offering such multi-disciplinary services/ training are very few in our country. But by offering to act as the nodal agency for the training programme, the IOP, with Dr Basu as its medical superintendent will be a pioneer in offering training in the related fields in the eastern part of the country.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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