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 Table of Contents    
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 306-307
Response to article: The manpower development scheme under the National Mental Health Program


The Richmond Fellowship Post Graduate College for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication28-Aug-2013
 

How to cite this article:
Seshadri K. Response to article: The manpower development scheme under the National Mental Health Program. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55:306-7

How to cite this URL:
Seshadri K. Response to article: The manpower development scheme under the National Mental Health Program. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Jul 30];55:306-7. Available from: https://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2013/55/3/306/117157


Sir,

This is with reference to the article on the manpower development scheme under the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) by Suman K Sinha and Jagdish Kaur that appeared in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. [1]

I wish to bring the following points to the kind notice and consideration of the authorities involved in mental health policy/program as well as my fellow mental health professional colleagues regarding the manpower development scheme.

As per the article, the dedicated manpower development schemes adopted under District Mental Health Program (DMHP) aim at increasing the PG training capacity in the mental health specialties of psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychiatric social work and psychiatric nursing. The PG courses identified specifically to be supported under the scheme are MD/DPM/DNB in Psychiatry, Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing, M. Phil. in Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Social Work.

It is my sincere opinion that:

  • More professional courses related to mental health/psychosocial rehabilitation courses must also be included for support under the scheme, apart from those already identified
  • Training and manpower generation must also encompass the vast yet untapped field of psychiatric rehabilitation as well
  • It is a short sighted approach to think that chronic psychiatric illnesses can be managed by producing traditional mental health professionals, without paying due attention to such specialized areas like psychiatric rehabilitation and associated psychosocial interventions. Evidence-based practice guidelines in the delivery of mental health services clearly indicate that psychological interventions are as effective as pharmacotherapy in many conditions, One suggestion in the context of improving the country's manpower resources in mental health has been that the number of centers offering such training should be increased immediately and also training in psychosocial interventions be strengthened. [2]


Psychiatric rehabilitation is a specialized field. Being largely non-medical and multidisciplinary in approach, there is some courses/training programs in rehabilitation that is offered by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and these are affiliated and recognized by appropriate authorities. This is in tune with one of the recommendations outlining the direction of future mental health services in India - that human resources for mental health must be systematically enhanced through both short-term and long-term strategies and the authors suggested that the involvement of NGOs in training of other mental health professionals and lay counselors, will certainly be the way forward. [3] Further, a review article on the NMHP [4] recommends that while there is a need for a national level initiative for human resource development for mental health care, this should include "…increasing the training for non-medical mental health professionals…"

The report on quality assurance in mental health-care [5] clearly highlights that treatment of mental illness has been mainly in the form of medical management and that there has been an inadequate emphasis on psychoeducation, counseling and other psychosocial interventions. Theoretical inputs apart, any training in an area like Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) is incomplete and ineffective unless it is tied in with hands-on training to students through field work postings in service/rehabilitation centers as well as community and hospital settings, both urban and rural. The training has to be intensive and gear students to understand the best practices in the field through exposure to various evidence-based interventions.

There may be many such small, but noteworthy training initiatives being offered by NGOs throughout the country. It is important to strengthen and develop such private initiatives as well, by providing financial support from the Government. PSR training centers spread across the country can be suitably assessed and identified as model centers for training in psychiatric rehabilitation. Such of those centers must be identified as having the potential to be developed as "Centers of Excellence" under the NMHP scheme. Furthermore, more such training centers must be replicated all over the country to address the manpower needs in the mental health/rehabilitation sector. This could be included under the section, "Establishment/Up gradation of PG training Departments."

Short-term training courses (of 3 months' duration) in psychosocial rehabilitation and counseling must be encouraged. Such brief training is mainly suited to those already working in rehabilitation sector and also for those who wish to work in this area afresh. Currently most rehabilitation centers employ people to work without proper training as there are not many centers that offer such programs. In order to provide the quality services for those suffering from chronic mental illnesses and their families trained personnel is very essential.

One innovative approach in the current NMHP is a public-private partnership (PPP), whereby realizing that the Government alone is inadequate to realize all the goals of NMHP, the role of NGOs and related organizations in all components of NMHP has been recognized. It is recommended that appropriate linkages between NGO activities as well as NMHP components be matched so as to increase efficiency. The authors suggest that a substantial part of NMHP can be contracted to established NGOs/private bodies of standing, especially the training component. [6]

The M. Sc. (Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Counseling) course at Bangalore, managed by the Richmond Fellowship Society (India), an NGO, is a novel initiative that addresses the similar objectives outlined in the manpower development scheme. It is high time that such private efforts, which are credible and recognized by relevant academic authorities, also get due recognition and financial support from the Government. This will serve to address a much-neglected area and the PPP model as envisaged in the NMHP and DMHP can truly take off with the flying colors.

 
   References Top

1.Sinha SK, Kaur J. National mental health programme: Manpower development scheme of eleventh five-year plan. Indian J Psychiatry 2011;53:261-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
2.Gangadhar BN. Human resource development in mental health care. In: Nagaraja D, Murthy P, editors. Mental Health Care and Human Rights. New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); 2008.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Nagaraja D, Murthy P. Future directions for mental health care in India. In: Nagaraja D, Murthy P, editors. Mental Health Care and Human Rights. New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); 2008.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Murthy RS. Mental health programme in the 11 th five year plan. Indian J Med Res 2007;125:707-11.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Quality Assurance in Mental Health. New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission; 1999.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Nagaraja D, Math SB. Health as a fundamental right: The national mental health programme initiative. In: Nagaraja D, Murthy P, editors. Mental Health Care and Human Rights. New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); 2008.  Back to cited text no. 6
    

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Correspondence Address:
Kalyanasundaram Seshadri
The Richmond Fellowship Post Graduate College for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.117157

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