K. Ashok Pai, Chairman of Karnataka State Mental Health Task Force, said on Saturday that sex education will be part of the curriculum at the high school-level in the State from the next academic year.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Pai said that sex education would be given to students of classes 9, 10, and 11. Training would be provided to teachers on teaching the subject. Textbooks on sex education were in the final stages of preparation. Though there were proposals earlier to impart sex education in high schools, they got scuttled due to protests.

Increasing incidents of sexual atrocities and consumption of drugs were related to fickle mindedness. Hence, it had become essential to provide counselling to students by teachers. Teachers would also be trained in providing counselling. The students could be referred to psychiatrists, only if the teachers could not help the students.

It was necessary to make available a psychiatrist, a social worker, and a mental health nurse in every district government hospital. Steps were being taken to establish a school for 50 special children and a rehabilitation centre for the mentally challenged in every district.

A drug de-addiction centre would be set up in all the four divisions of the State. There was a possibility that Bangalore, regarded as the Silicon City, could emerge the suicide capital of the country in the next two years, as people there were living under immense stress.

There was a severe shortage of psychiatrists in the country. It was necessary to have more psychiatrists both in the country as well as the State, Dr. Pai said.

Kumara, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Anand Naik, District Surgeon, Vijaykumar Shetty, Chief Planning Officer of Zilla Panchayat, and Vasudev, a psychiatrist at District Government Hospital, were present.