Mental health professionals need to upgrade skills to deliver quality healthcare during Covid-19 pandemic: Gerald Jaideep

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Stressing that there is a need for constant upgradation of knowledge by adopting new treatment procedures, monitoring and understanding the mental conditions of patients, Gerald Jaideep, CEO of Medvarsity observed that mental healthcare professionals in India are lacking the understanding of its prevalence and risk factors associated with the disease.

He stressed that in the period of COVID-19 pandemic, it is time that mental health professionals must gear up to understand the mental conditions of the people and come out with new treatment procedures to save the people from mental illness.

Citing the recent comprehensive study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the “disease burden due to mental disorders in India” Jaideep highlighted that approximately 197 million persons, roughly one in seven Indians suffered from some kind of mental disorders in the year 2017. These include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, idiopathic developmental intellectual disability, conduct disorders, and autism.

“Mental health treatment has come a long way today from ancient medical practices to a more research, data, and technology-based approach. Despite of achieving many advances, unfortunately mental healthcare in India has not reached up to the mark as it should have been and this is happening because of lack of up gradation of skills and reluctance to adopt new treatment procedures and technologies. Therefore it is high time that researchers, physicians and doctors should adopt new ways of treating, monitoring and understanding the mental conditions of patients by leveraging technology and mobile devices,” observed the Medvarsity CEO.

Mental disorders are very diverse with multiple conditions of individuals’ minds like anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias), depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic disorder, and other mood disorder. These disorders usually range from mild to severe and acute to recurrent and are also measured based on how long the patient has been suffering. For example, a patient might require institutional care or rehabilitative medical care depending on the severity of the issue. Therefore it needs a very deep understanding of the condition of an individual patient to cure the disease, observed Jaideep.

Adding further the Medvarsity CEO observed that people today are more prone to issues like depression, anxiety disorders, sleeplessness, suicidal attempts, alcoholism, because of their changing lifestyle. Irrespective of age, gender, and standard of living, almost everyone at some point in life is affected by mental illness; it’s only the variations that differ. Social, cultural, economic, biological, and other related factors contribute to the increased occurrence of mental disorders.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, people of all ages are being exposed to extraordinary situations that they have never experienced before. The pandemic has triggered a sense of fear and agitation among the masses. Even a minor fever or cough fills our heart with the fear of contracting the infection and that leads us to get the test done for reconfirmation. On top of that, job losses and economic slowdown add to the woes. The pandemic has caused Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the masses. The psychological impact of the pandemic is significant which disturbed the normal state of mind.

The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India has significantly grown with one in seven Indians facing mental disorders challenges ranging from mild to severe. In a scenario where improving the quality of mental healthcare delivery requires timely responsiveness, preparedness, and adequate capacity, training mental health professionals are of utmost importance to ensure maximum attention for the patients, insisted the CEO.

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