Mental health is important for the country as it can contribute to the growth of our GDP, said Union Minister of State for HRD D. Purandeswari while inaugurating APPSYCON 2010, the 30{+t}{+h} annual conference of the AP State branch of Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) here on Saturday.

Awareness on mental health was required and the society was in the right stage for launching a campaign.

It was for the psychiatrists to take up this responsibility, Ms. Purandeswari said.

Nuclear families

She regretted that the institution of joint families, through which the children learnt how to deal with different people, making adjustments and understanding the benefit of human relationship, was no more thanks to the present-day nuclear families and they had also lost the huge strength the grand parents were providing.

The Government Hospital for Mental Care and the Visakha Psychiatric Society are jointly organising the two-day conference.

Director of Medical Education T. Raviraju pointed out that mental illness was very prevalent and social awareness was needed to tackle the problem. He felt the need to strengthen the Government Hospital for Mental Care here.

MBBS curriculum

President of Indian Psychiatric Society Ajit Awasti said since the 4,000 qualified psychiatrists in the country were not enough, all doctors should acquire the knowledge to deal with psychiatric patients and curriculum in the undergraduate level (MBBS) must be changed to suit the need.

He informed that recommendations made by an IPS committee to improve and standardise the Post-graduate course would be released soon.

Principal of Andhra Medical College and a senior psychiatrist G. Bhagya Rao, while stressing that mental health was important for one to enjoy his or her life, wanted the mental health programme strengthened. Every district headquarters hospital must have a psychiatrist.

Plea to Minister

Superintendent of King George Hospital G. Shanta Rao requested the Human Resource Minister to help in allotting support staff for a mental health wing building built in the King George Hospital premises at a cost of Rs. 50 lakhs.

Earlier Superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care and chairman of the oraganising committee K. Narasimha Reddi, president of State unit of IPS V. Pramod Kumar, secretary Y. Vijaya Kumar explained about the conference and the activities of State Indian Psychiatric Society.

Professor of psychiatry at the Government Hospital here and organising secretary of the conference N.N. Raju took charge as president of the State unit of Indian Psychiatric Society from Dr Pramod Kumar, during the meeting.

President-elect ofIndian Psychiatric Society M. Thirunavukkarasu, editor of Indian Psychiatric Society State chapter K. Uday Kumar, treasurer R. Satish Babu and president of Visakha Psychiatric Society P. Himakar, were present.

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