In an effort to upgrade mental healthcare in urban and rural areas, a mobile tele-psychiatry care unit, ‘Ananya’, was launched in Madurai on Saturday.

As part of its corporate social responsibility project, Hewlett Packard-India has joined hands with M.S.Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation here to provide quality psychiatric care.

State Health Minister K.C.Veeramani, Minister for Cooperation Sellur K.Raju, Collector Anshul Mishra and MLAs representing All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam were present during the launch.

The mobile unit is equipped with facilities like physical examination couch, ECG Unit, medical consultation cabin and video conferencing facility.

The unit would provide a technology-based platform to enable mental health professionals to connect to patients in remote areas, said Girish Kumar, Practice Head, HP, Mumbai.

C.Ramasubramaniam, founder and consultant psychiatrist, M.S.Chellamuthu Trust, said psychiatric illness carried a stigma and treatment in most of the rural parts of India was done based on superstitions and religious practices.

Technology played a vital role in dispensing adequate medical care and this mobile care unit would enhance such measures.

Earlier, Collector Anshul Mishra made a request to the Health Minister to set up a mental care institute in the city as there were a lot of people with mental illnesses found roaming the streets of the city.

P.V.Venkatachalam, Director, Application and Business Services, HP, said a mobile-based application called ‘Medication Alert and Adherence System’ would also be part of the services.

It would help monitor patient’s medicine intake and issue reminders via messages to the mobile phones of the caretakers based on doctor’s prescription stored in the central health information system, he noted.