Mental health issues are ignored in India

Namrata Devikar
Saturday, 12 May 2018

Though technological advancement in medicine has reached new levels, it is often seen that the issues related to mental health are ignored blatantly in India. One such case was that of a senior Maharashtra police officer, Himanshu Roy.

Pune: Though technological advancement in medicine has reached new levels, it is often seen that the issues related to mental health are ignored blatantly in India. One such case was that of a senior Maharashtra police officer, Himanshu Roy.

Roy, former chief of Anti-Terror Squad of Maharashtra, committed suicide by shooting himself on Friday at his residence in Mumbai. He has served the police force and been actively involved in many high-profile investigations in his career.

The 54-year-old was battling cancer since 2000. His cancer relapsed in 2016 again after which he was on medical leave.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Raj Nagarkar, who was giving treatment to Roy said that his renal cancer was better now.
“A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) test which identifies cancerous cells in the body was done on Roy 10 days ago, which was normal. There were no cancerous cells in his body and he was responding to the treatment very well,” said Nagarkar.

He has been treating Roy since November 2016 till date. “Since 2016, he was getting the treatment from us. His cancer had relapsed and hence, he had started the treatment with us. He was on chemotherapy and targeted therapy in Pune and Mumbai and his response was well,” said Nagarkar.

He also mentioned that Roy was feeling better physically and went to gymnasium on Thursday.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Manjeet Santre from the Psychiatry Department of Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) said that it is important to give psychological assistance to chronic patients as well as their caregivers is important.

“Talking particularly about cancer, it leads to dependency in general. There are a lot of cases were disfigurement and side effects of medication can be seen. So a patient and the caregivers have to fight on all fronts and hence, counselling becomes important.

He further added that it is also seen that a few medication of cancer can also lead to depression.
Expressing the need for awareness about counselling among such patients, Taysir Moonim, a city-based psychologist, said that at present, there is not much awareness.

“There may be awareness amongst more psychoeducated consumers of mental health and that would affect their seeking help at such a time. Amongst doctors, awareness or advocating for psychological support varies. On a wider level, there is low awareness amongst most patients to seek psychological help or support when diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness,” said Moonim. 

She also added that while medical counselling is done, psychologists and social workers can certainly help support patients and their caregivers, especially with a knowledge and understanding of the chronic or terminal illness, its course and their prognosis.

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