Chairman of the Karnataka State Mental Health Task Force and renowned psychiatrist K. Ashok Pai said that the government should establish de-addiction centres in all divisional headquarters and provide free medicines in all government hospitals for mentally disabled persons.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, Dr. Pai said that he would submit a series of recommendations for the welfare and treatment of the mentally disabled to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bangalore on July 19.

Dr Pai said de-addiction centres would first be established in divisional headquarters and later extended to districts in phases.

He said that there was urgent need for increasing number of psychiatrists and psychologists to provide treatment and counselling to patients suffering various mental ailments. At present there are 4,500 psychiatrists and 2,500 psychologists. There is a serious shortage of professionals.

According to a study, at least 14 per cent of the State’s total population is suffering from one or the other mental disorder, while 16 per cent of India’s total population suffers from the same.

The suicide rate, especially in bigger metropolitan cities, is increasing at an alarming rate.

Dr. Pai also highlighted the need to introduce sex education in high school curricula. The teachers should also be provided training to act as counsellors and remove all the misconceptions surrounding sexual activities.

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