A public primary health centre (PHC) in Gandhinagar started mental health services from Thursday, after a proposal for the same by the Raksha University (RRU) was approved by the district health department on October 8.
Apart from routine services, PHC Sampa in Dehgam taluka, will also provide mental health services with professionals from RRU — three psychologists and a psychiatrist along with other staff — rendering the service to the general population in the area numbering in 30,000 covering 11 villages, thus enabling access to these services to the rural population.
Dr S L Vaya, director of School of Criminology & Behavioural Sciences at RRU, said that while major mental disorders can be taken care of with medicines but residual symptoms may persist which is when the rehabilitation process starts, and requires paramedical staff.
Outlining the future roadmap, Dr Vaya, added that the services can be further expanded in the future to include speech therapists, occupational therapists, disability rehabilitation, etc. to address issues of “disorders, disabilities and deviance.”
Professor Bimal Patel, Vice-Chancellor at RRU, also stressed on the need for mental health fitness along with physical fitness among its armed and security forces.
“In India, the population resides in our villages and thus if we want to start something, it must start from our villages…Who knows, of the 30,000 population (covered by PHC Sampa), 300 of them might join security forces of India and internationally. And if they do, these 300 boys and girls, if physically and mentally fit, can be a model security force (personnel),” said Patel.
Dr Ajay Chauhan, secretary of state mental health authority for Gujarat government, noted that this is a first in Gujarat where mental health services are being provided at a PHC and with this service, mental health care services “can reach the grassroots.”