A remarkable order by Patna’s High Court put the spotlight on Patna’s poor mental health and the state of neglect it is in, and also the lack of initiative taken by state authorities and unfulfilled promises.
An order passed by the bench of chief justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sanjay Kumar on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Akanksha Maviya expressed concern over the neglect of mental health in the state of Bihar. The order mentioned that a person’s mental health and treatment of those who are in need is of least priority to the state government, more so in the trying times of the covid pandemic.
The Patna High Court also ordered the chief secretary of Patna’s state government to ensure the establishment of the State Mental Health Authority as documented under the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 and also provide proof of the steps taken to ensure the implementation of all other things mentioned in the same act.
The purpose of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 was “to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during the delivery of mental healthcare” (Devika Sharma for SCC Blog, 2022). However, as is visible by the high court’s order, these provisions are yet to be fulfilled by Bihar state’s government.
After the confirmed case of Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide, many psychologists and doctors of Patna voiced out their thoughts and opinions of mental health and the lack of importance given to it.
In an interview with the Times of India (TOI), Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) assistant professor in psychiatry department Dr Sourabh Kumar talked about the difference between depression and sadness, and urged everyone to not use the two terms interchangeably. Elaborating on the same, he also said that mere sadness is a feeling we all experience, however depression is a complete change in habit, and much more severe. He also threw some light on the treatment options for depression and showed a difference in treatment method between short-term and long-term depression, wherein both are treated with different psychotherapeutic methods according to Dr. Kumar.
Dr Binda Singh, a clinical psychologist from Patna told TOI that suicide is far from an impulsive decision. He said that suicide is the cumulative decision taken by the sufferer due to sleepless nights, multiple thoughts and not having someone to talk to.
Dr. Singh also mentioned that students who go to other cities for higher education are more prone to depression, due to a variety of additional reasons. She mentioned a case wherein a highly intelligent student went to New Delhi to study and was bullied for being a Bihari. She therefore advised family members to keep a regular check at such children and ensure they have a support system.
In 2019, according to the state health department officials, the state of Bihar observed a 30% annual increase in the cases of people suffering from mental health disorders since 2012. This data was reported to the Times of India (TOI) by Pramod Kumar Singh, in-charge director at Koilwar Mental Hospital. He mentioned this rise in cases could be attributed to more awareness about mental health disorders and people’s increasing trust in therapy.
The data mentioned above shows a clear need for mental health support infrastructure in the state. The state authorities need to turn over a new leaf with respect to initiatives taken and completed in the field of mental health support.
List of Well Established Mental Health Institutes in Patna
- Institute of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology– It provides support and treatment for a variety of mental problems in adults and children, ranging from depression to obsessive compulsive disease and bipolar disorder and other mental disorders.
- Patna Neuro Psychiatry Centre– It is a leading neuropsychiatric care clinic established with the mission to provide the highest standard of medical services at minimum price & maximum convenience to clients.
- Sinar Institute Of Neuro Psychiatry– This well-known establishment acts as a one-stop destination servicing customers both local and from other parts of Bihar,Nepal and Adjoining States. Their mission is to Adopt highest standards of governance to emerge as a leading knowledge and technology driven, innovative and scalable international development organisation.
- Manopchar, Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre– Provides mental health support for a range of disorders, and is located near Ashiyana Digha Road in Patna.
Kumar, A. (n.d.). ‘mental health least priority of Bihar Govt’: Patna HC raps state. Hindustan Times. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www-hindustantimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/mental-health-least-priority-of-bihar-govt-patna-hc-raps-state-101644750544353-amp.html?amp_js_v=a6&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D
Nezami, S. (2019, October 11). Bihar mental disorder graph rises 30% per year: Patna News – Times of India. The Times of India. Retrieved from https://m.timesofindia.com/city/patna/state-mental-disorder-graph-rises-30-per-year/amp_articleshow/71529885.cms
Rani, A. (2020, June 16). Depression is not ‘Mere sadness’, time to focus on Mental Health: Patna doctors – times of India. The Times of India. Retrieved from https://m-timesofindia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.timesofindia.com/city/patna/depression-is-not-mere-sadness-time-to-focus-on-mental-health-docs/amp_articleshow/76393005.cms?amp_js_v=a6&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#aoh=16477110538236&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s
Sharma, D. (2022, February 18). Mental health of a person and/or treatment of those who are in need, more so during the time of covid-19, is the least priority of the state government: Patna HC. SCC Blog. Retrieved from https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/15/mental-health-of-a-person-and-or-treatment-of-those-who-are-in-need-more-so-during-the-time-of-covid-19-is-the-least-priority-of-the-state-government/