1 in 3 Patients Visit Mumbai’s Civic Hospitals for Mental Health
The study done by BMC reiterates that mental health disorders like anxiety and depression are on the rise.
Mental health has been a big issue in the country for some time now. But people are still not open to discussing it. So, it comes as a surprise that mental health emerged as the leading reason for Mumbaikars visiting civic hospitals in the state.
More than 31 percent of the 5.6 lakh patients visiting the four big civic hospitals – KEM, LTMG in Sion, Nair in Mumbai Central and Cooper in Andheri – between October 2015 and September 2017 sought treatment for psychiatric disorders, reports Times of India (TOI).
This is the first extensive study done over two years where the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has analysed data about why patients visit civic hospitals.
Mental disorders are followed by diabetes (23.2 percent), hypertension (22.8 percent) and heart disease (7.5 percent) as the top reason for which patients visit the hospitals. This displays the rise in non-communicable diseases in urban areas.
And then there is a unique urban problem – 9.9 percent or 55,719 patients came in for dog/animal bites.
Apart from the four major hospitals in the city, the study also looked at 15 peripheral hospitals and 175 dispensaries in the two-year period. In total, cases of 74 lakh patients were analysed. And at each level of healthcare facility, the ailments were different.
At the peripheral hospitals run by BMC, highest number of cases are of ‘fever of unknown origin’. And at the civic dispensaries, spread all over the city, respiratory ailments topped the chart.
Study Emphasises the Extent of Mental Health Disorders
This data from Mumbai’s civic hospitals reiterates what many major studies have established – mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks are on the rise.
But the high numbers of mental health disorders in these hospitals have another reason behind them. Psychiatry as a specialty is only available at the big hospitals. And the authorities say that people from other cities and districts also come to these places.
KEM dean Dr Avinash Supe, who was associated with the study, told TOI:
It was previously thought that mental health problems such as anxiety disorders are common only among the upper middle class and the rich, but the morbidity study shows us that the economically weaker sections too need mental health intervention.
Mental healthcare needs to improve in our country to treat the increasing load of patients. TOI quoted Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist, as saying:
Just as BMC appointed a TB officer to combat the epidemic, it should have a mental health commissioner. Just as door-to-door surveys are carried out to identify dengue and malaria, a similar strategy should be employed for mental health.
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