Over 2,000 psychiatrists participating in conference

At a time when mental health is gaining more attention from policymakers and the 12 five-year-plan is geared to make a push for mental health care and training of professionals, Indian Psychiatric Society's (IPS) national conference is taking stock of the psychiatric practice in the country.

The conference, which brought together over half the number of the 4,000 practising psychiatrists in the country, was inaugurated by Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister K.V. Thomas on Thursday. World Psychiatric Association president Dinesh Bhugra; IPS president-elect Roy Abraham Kallivayalil were among the speakers at the opening session.

V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president of Kerala State Science, Technology and Environment, inaugurated a continuing medical education programme in which a slew of presentations by senior psychiatrists and mental health educators were presented. Dr. Pillai said the new generation jobs such as those in information technology, caused a lot of tension and stress to young people and led to mental disorders. Psychiatrists, researchers and the government needed to look into this, he said.

Dr. Thirunavukkarasu, outgoing president of the IPS and head of the department of psychiatry at SRM Medical College, Tamil Nadu, spoke on the legal and ethical issues involved in mental health care. Dr. Mohan Isaac of the University of Western Australia, detailed the treatment profile of schizophrenia in the West over the past century. R. Raguram, head of psychiatry at Kempgowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore, analysed the development of psychotherapy in India and the culture-specific aspects of therapy in the country.

John M. Oldham, president of the American Psychiatric Association, presented methods for identifying ‘borderline personality disorder' which was increasing worldwide.

The Indian Psychiatric Society advises the authorities concerned on the standards of education and training for medical and auxiliary personnel in psychiatry and recommends adequate teaching facilities for the purpose.

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