Mumbai, Feb 6 (IANS) Nearly 8 years after the first National Mental Health Survey (NMHS), the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday launched a city-wide survey to determine the ‘mental health’ status of Mumbaikars, an official said here.
The survey, under directions from the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, will cover 3,600 people covering all strata of society including migrants, who will be randomly selected by a special software.
Besides Mumbai which will complete the exercise by August-September, the NMHS exercise shall be carried out in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru.
A field survey team comprising mental health specialists will knock on the doors of the selected persons and quiz them for around 30-40 minutes on various aspects of mental health ,including a section pertaining to Covid-19 pandemic and its ramifications.
This is the second NMHS by the Union Health Ministry since 2015-2016, and the BMC’s Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital have been selected as the nodal centres to carry out the mega-exercise in Mumbai.
The hospital’s Department of Psychiatry and Department of Community Medicine will implement the survey through a Coordinator and 7 other staffers who will personally visit the people whose names will be randomly thrown up by the software.
The first survey was coordinated at the national level by National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) and covered 12 states, with some startling results.
It had thrown up a lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders like depression, mood or anxiety problems and alcoholism in about 10 per cent of the people in non-urban centres and 14 per cent in urban centres.
The survey also found that the treatment gap for most of these highly prevalent disorders was more than 60 per cent with a shortage of psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and medicines across the states.
This time round, the public medical and health authorities at the state and city levels will determine the need to establish and beef up the mental health systems, assess the present mental health services and attempt to bridge the gaps.
A Health Department official has urged people to cooperate with the survey team to enable them to procure accurate data, try to determine the mental health needs and secure timely ‘help’ for the citizens.