India has come a long way but still has far to go.
Compared to a handful of psychiatrists at the time of independence, we have more than 3000 psychiatrists in the country (1
per 3.33 lakh : the ideal should be atleast ten times more). Include other mental health workers and the number is 10,000
plus (i.e. 1 per 1 Lakh : not that bad, the ideal number should be 1 : 25,000 or less, which means the work force must increase
by atleast four times). Moreover, the major benefit of most psychiatric services are not within the reach of the majority
of our population especially those living in villages, small towns or the big city slums (Wig, 2001). We know, therefore,
what is the manpower needed to tackle the unfinished agenda of mental health in general and suicide prevention and management
Suicide is ubiquitous, under-reported and
probably also under-researched. Study of its various dimensions-preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, social, ethical etc.
needs to be furthered amongst medical professionals, social thinkers, legislative bodies, NGOs, care givers and survivors.
Only then the pious and well-intentioned religious commandments of yore, and bioethical discussions of philosophers today,
will become synergistic with psychosocial intervention and rehabilitative programmes.
It will also be one significant manner to
further an earlier W.H.O. slogan (for the year 2001-2002) : ‘Mental Health : Stop exclusion, dare to care’, in
an effort at more humane patient care, a less psychopathological environment and, hopefully, a more egalitarian society.
So, that is the picture. It has stirred you to think.
It has stirred you to act. Look out for the suicide prone individuals. Get acquainted with NGOs like Befrienders International
or the Samaritans. Ask if Suicide Help-lines need your assistance. Help a suicide prone individual seek professional care.
Contribute your mite to the movement to make society suicide - free.
It is not just a dream. It is a goal we must
all work together for.
Shall we, then, walk the talk ?
Mens Sana Monographs [MSM]: A Mens Sana Research Foundation Publication