World Mental Health Day: Psychological First Aid can help India prevent suicides
On the eve of the World Mental Health Day 2016 (the day is observed on Oct 10 every year), two Noida-based psychiatrists have called for promoting Psychological First Aid (PFA) which they say can save thousands of lives. As a step in this direction, they have also started this service, hitherto unknown perhaps, at their clinic, Manas Ganga Clinic, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The initiative of ‘psychological first aid’ recognises the agony of the common man and tries to provide intervention without delay. The support can come from a relative, friend or colleague, but it is best dealt with by professionals. The symptoms could be a feeling of despair, fatigue, anxiety, an inability to interact normally with others, unusual displays of temper and so on.
The two doctors are Dr Manu Tiwari, senior psychiatrist, consultant at Fortis Hospital, Noida, and Fortis-Escorts Heart Institute and Dr Ajay Dogra, senior psychiatrist, consultant at Kailash Hospital and Jeewan Anmol Hospital, New Delhi.
Patients can be screened for a slew of mental problems and disorders like schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorder, addictions, personality disorders, dementia, anorexia and ADHD at the PFA clinic which will vastly improve their quality of life.
About 1,00,000 Indians commit suicide every year, many others suffer injuries, while some become unable to function to capacity due to stress-related factors. “By conducting free mental OPD and providing free medical consultation, we are trying to create awareness among residents of Noida mental health,” says Dr Tiwari. “Psychological First Aid (PFA) could have helped all these people get over the effects of stress and depression,” he says.
“Psychological interventions are the first attempts to provide the emotional support that is often undermined in such times. “Such things can alleviate mental distress at its source,” says Dr Dogra.
“Combating this emotional strife might seem to be overwhelming, but professional help can sure reduce the distress. It’s time to reach out to those whose concerns don’t surface, and may be considered rather insignificant in the larger realm of things. Psychological intervention in the nick of time can considerably impact lives in a more meaningful way,” he adds.