“It is also an important priority to address the stigma experienced by persons who are mentally ill. They should not continue to be subjected to neglect and marginalisation,” he said at an event at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) to dedicate it as an institute of national importance.
Mukherjee lauded the objective of the National Mental Health Policy to speedily integrate mental health care services into general health care as part of non-communicable diseases, highlighting that India got its first comprehensive mental health policy only as recently as October.
“I am glad to note that it (the policy) covers several aspects of mental health – including the rights of the mentally ill, the need to provide support to care givers, decriminalisation of suicide – and other progressive policy initiatives,” he said, stressing the need to ensure priority to develop mental healthcare professionals and innovative methods to deliver care.
Mukherjee called upon medical institutions to adopt IT to invigorate healthcare delivery.
“The use of IT to invigorate health care delivery also helps in reducing costs, optimising resource management and minimising paper work. The e-hospital and e-project programmes taken up by NIMHANS are, therefore, excellent initiatives, worthy of emulation by other institutions,” he said.
Appreciating NIMHANS’ initiatives like brain bank, free legal aid clinic in its outpatient block, centre for well being, centre for public health and centre for addiction medicine, he said: “I have no doubt that NIMHANS will continue to inspire and support the development of the mental health sector at state, national and even international levels.”