Traumatized medicos: Govt announces mental health care for ‘stressed’ medicos
Srinagar: In order to take care of mental health of the doctors who are working under stressful conditions, especially in Kashmir hospitals, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar has started a Counselling and Wellness Centre at Community Centre, Shri Maharana Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS).
The circular issued in this regard from the office of Principal, (GMC) Srinagar has admitted that doctors have shown signs of mental stress and have been facing issues while concentrating on their work.
The circular, a copy of which is lying with ‘Kashmir Vision’ states that it has been decided to establish a wellness centre at the already functioning Community Centre which is being run by the Department of Psychiatry, GMC.
Pertinently, doctors in Kashmir are working under stressful condition, the fact which at times takes a toll on their performance, apart from degrading their mental health. In such a scenario, the doctors are appreciating the efforts made by the GMC administration.
“It has been observed that some students at under graduate and post graduate level and also some doctors at times experience difficulty in concentration on their studies/ job, face learning problems, have sleep difficulties and complain of anxiety disorders etc, while few may have indulged in addiction and abuse,” the circular issued by Principal GMC reads.
Mental health professionals are also saying that there have been instances where medical professionals indulged in addiction and abuse given their degraded mental health caused due to stress at workplace, or due to some other causes.
“Medical professionals are not immune to the mental health hazards, while working under the condition that are telling and take a toll on their performance,” said a physiatrist, adding “under the circumstances where it is a challenge to keep up with one’s mental health, the initiative taken by the GMC should bring some respite,” he said.
“In order to address these issues by way of inter-personnel communication, counselling, management including treatment of various psychological/ psychiatric problems, a counselling and wellness centre is being established in community Centre, SMHS Hospital Srinagar run by PG Department of Psychiatry, GMC Srinagar,” the circular reads.
Medical professionals are saying that it has always been difficult for doctors to report that they are suffering from mental stress, which is quite normal given the conditions around. “There have been such cases when doctors preferred not to seek proper counselling when they feel that they are suffering from mental issues,” said a doctor, adding “with not seeking counselling, there are also incidents where doctors resorted to drug abuse and ultimately developed addiction.”
As per studies carried out in this regard, depression and burnout are at higher rates in the medical profession than in many other fields, worldwide.
“Nearly one in three doctors is clinically depressed. These numbers are doubled compared to that of the general population,” a study carried out by University of Michigan says. And yet, according to it, only 6 percent of doctors who are diagnosed with depression report it to their state medical board.
Now that the GMC has taken the initiative, the circular states that the Wellness Centre will remain functional for students/ doctors on Fridays from 2 to 4 PM.
“The counselling and wellness centre shall be working on every Fridays from 2 to 4 PM and all students/ doctors at GMC Srinagar can fell free and walk in for redressal of their psychological/ psychiatric problems as and when needed,” the circular reads.
While reacting to the development, President, Doctors’ Association of Kashmir (DAK), Dr Suhail Naik said that such initiatives are to be hailed and should be undertaken at peripheral level as well.
“It is a welcome step. It is, in a way, acknowledgement to the fact that the doctors in Kashmir working under challenging condition and they are in need of measures,” he said, adding “such measure are to taken at the peripheral level as well.”