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 Table of Contents    
LETTERS TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 124-125
”IDEAS” and the IPS


Senior Consultant, Psychiatry and Behaviour Medicine, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

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Date of Web Publication12-Apr-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Kumar K A. ”IDEAS” and the IPS. Indian J Psychiatry 2017;59:124-5

How to cite this URL:
Kumar K A. ”IDEAS” and the IPS. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Jul 16];59:124-5. Available from: http://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2017/59/1/124/204453


Sir,

The efforts to include disabled psychiatrically ill individuals in the ambit of the welfare programs for the disabled in India have a delayed start and a long checkered course. Psychiatrists and other mental health workers had been making ardent appeals and personal efforts in discrete and discontinuous ways, to seek parity of disabled mentally ill persons with mentally retarded and physically disabled persons. Since the 1960s and 1970s, the union and state governments, parliament and state assemblies, and socially committed conscientious citizens started talking on and taking up the cause of disabled persons' care, support, and sustenance, on the line of welfare programs prevailing and prospering in developed nations. During the 1980s and 1990s, the concern and care for the disabled individuals gained attention from the health sector and social welfare sector. The Social Welfare Ministry (as it was called then) of Government of India started to convene meetings on drafting a suitable comprehensive act, incorporating welfare programs for physically disabled persons. Mental retardation also was brought into the gamut of disabilities, thanks to the effort of pioneers in the field of care of persons with mental retardation. Some of us who had been active at the Indian Psychiatric Society at those times addressed the Social Welfare Ministry and got invited to attend the meetings meant for evolving disability welfare programs. Along with many seniors like Dr. A. Venkoba Rao, Dr. S. M. Channabasavanna, Dr. M. Sarada Menon, Dr. L. P. Shah, some juniors like me also had the privilege of attending such meetings. I distinctly remember Sri. Pandey, the then joint secretary, Social Welfare Department, a very perceptive officer who was the coordinator/convener for most of these meetings that were attended by professionals, community leaders, and legal experts. Although we could convey, and to some extent, convince them about the genuine need and justification of including chronic mentally ill persons in the catchment for welfare programs, lack of a scale to evaluate and quantify behavioral and social disability of these patients emerged as a major, or even an absolute hurdle in accepting them, on par with other disabled individuals, defined well. Although the Persons with Disabilities Act (PDA) 1995 included chronic mentally ill as the last category of disabilities, lack of a scale for evaluation and grading psychiatric disability made it impossible for the government to extend disability assistance benefits under PDA for our disabled patients on par with other disabled persons.

The utmost and urgent felt need for such an evaluation and scoring scale for psychiatrically disabled persons loomed large, in front of Indian psychiatrists and the IPS for few years since then. In 2001, at the Annual National Conference Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS) Pune, a Task Force, with Dr. Thara (Scarf, Chennai) as chairperson and Dr. T. Murali (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences [NIMHANS]) as convener, was constituted for preparing such a scale, and the task was taken up on an urgent pace to be completed in an year. Galvanized as the premium project of the IPS for the year, it was earnestly taken up by the task force. Dr. S. Nambi, the then secretary general of IPS extended his valuable help in coordinating the work. Despite some operational difficulties and financial limitations, the Task Force did a commendable work in evolving the draft of the Indian Disability Evaluation and Assessment Scale (IDEAS) and field-tested it in ten centers across the country. In the inauguration of ANCIPS 2002 at Kolkata, I had the pleasant privilege of releasing the IDEAS, fulfilling the mission initiated as IPS President in ANCIPS, Pune, in 2001.

While the preparation of the IDEAS had been going on, there had been occasions for IPS office to interact with officials of the Union Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and briefing them about the ongoing preparation of a disability scale, its validation, and its expected release within a year. Dr. Gourie-devi, the then director cum vice-chancellor of NIMHANS, who was a member of the Central Mental Health Authority, and Dr. T. Murali, H.O.D. of Rehabilitation of NIMHANS, had played a key role in the instructional and lobbying task with the Central Ministry, and Dr. Thara ensured its reputation at international level. To our extreme delight and satisfaction, the Government of India accepted IDEAS as the official scale for psychiatric disability, under the ambit of PDA 1995, through an extraordinary gazette, in February 2002, i.e., within 1 month of its release by IPS at ANCIPS, Kolkata. It was a grand and fulfilling moment in the history of the Indian Psychiatric Society, as ours was the only clinical professional organization in the country, to secure such an enormous nurturing scheme from the Government of India, for the patients treated and cared by its members. It was a mission fulfilled on time that delighted us in IPS.

The hope and expectation at the time was that all state units of IPS would take up the task of training its members on IDEAS through workshops and motivate their respective state governments in extending disability-related benefits to the deserving psychiatric patients with disabilities with effective utilization of the Scale. Unfortunately, it did not happen in the expected pace. During the 14 years (2002–2016), since IDEAS materialized and got accepted as the official Psychiatric Disability Scale of the country, some initiatives and efforts have been taken by committed members of IPS in a few state units. However, the follow-up on IDEAS did not receive the thrust, momentum, and spread that were expected and which it genuinely deserved.

The cause of the disabled mentally ill remains to be taken up by IDEAS (by the central body, zonal and state units, collaborating with the governments in the right earnest). The Rehabilitation Section of IPS and the Disability Task Force, presently manned by enthusiastic fellows of IPS, committed to the cause of rehabilitation, may note the background and imbibe the spirit of genesis of IPS and realize its full potential to fetch benefits for the disabled patients and their unfortunate families across the country.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence Address:
K A Kumar
Senior Consultant, Psychiatry and Behaviour Medicine, Trivandrum, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_68_17

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