What a proud moment! Won the Times Healthcare Achiever Award in the Young Achiever category from the Times of India.

The felicitation ceremony at St. Regis, Mumbai last Saturday, 26th May 2018 was an evening to remember. Many of Mumbai’s legends in Health-care…Dr Keki Turel, Dr Khusrav Bajan Dr Firuza Parekh, Dr Arun Mehra, Padmashree Dr Suresh Advani were also honoured during the event. A big thanks to the Times team for recognising the often forgotten Mental Health Fraternity.

The award, a maiden initiative by the Times Group, recognises excellence in the medical fraternity. The screening process which lasted over 8 weeks involved preliminary checks by advisory partner Ernst and Young, followed by Jury screening of case studies of each applicant.

Here’s what I told the Times Group during the Press Release.

“My personal opinion for changes in the Mental health field in the next 5 years:

Reduced stigma: Which will allow opportunity for more people with mental illness to openly approach for help in the initial stages of illness rather than wait until symptoms have become critical. People avoid visiting mental health professionals due to shame and thus lose benefit of symptom reversal/reduction as they miss out on early intervention. Awareness campaigns via print and electronic medium as well as implementation of the new Mental health Act (2017) will be beneficial methods to increase awareness. Ministry needs to increase the budget for mental health (less than 1% of the health budget is spent on mental health), free/subsidised treatment, guarantee of confidentiality for patients and abolishing criminalising of suicide attempts will ensure that more patients approach for help.

Support for Mental health professionals: Mental health professionals drop out of the field due to stress. The field has high rates of burnout and suicide. As a result there is a huge demand-supply imbalance (70 million mental health patients vs 4000 mental health professionals). The need is for more professional training/supervision as also therapist self-care to reduce the attrition/burnout.

Support groups for mental illness patients: India has the one of the lowest rate of support groups for mental illness compared to anywhere else in the world. Support groups comprise almost 50% of the recovery process in illnesses such as depression, addiction, borderline personality disorder, OCD etc. So far, India has formal support groups only for addictions and sparse few for other mental illnesses. As a result, patients have slower rates of recovery with individual therapy versus if they were part of support groups alongside.”