Bhutan ob­serves World Men­tal Health Day

Bhutan Times - - Home - Rinzin Lhamo

Bhutan ob­served the World Men­tal Health Day on 10th Oc­to­ber. This year, the day was ob­served with the theme “Psy­cho­log­i­cal first aid”. The main goal of psy­cho­log­i­cal first aid is to pro­mote safety and show con­nect­ed­ness.

The day is ob­served to cre­ate aware­ness and ed­u­cate peo­ple on men­tal ill­ness. Due to lack of aware­ness, peo­ple never turn out to re­veal their disease. In­stead, they have to be asked to visit the hospi­tal after know­ing their ill state of mind.

In Bhutan, the num­ber of men­tally ill pa­tients has been in­creas­ing ev­ery year. The psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Na­tional Re­fer­ral Hospi­tal in Thim­phu first reg­is­tered 151 men­tally ill pa­tients in the year 1999, from which high­est was 51 pa­tients found with de­pres­sion and least three pa­tients for sub­stance abuse.

The num­ber of pa­tients was marked high­est in the year 2012 with 864 reg­is­tered cases, out of which 229 pa­tients were reg­is­tered for anx­i­ety dis­or­der mak­ing it the high­est while only 16 reg­is­tered for mood dis­or­der (BPAD).

Al­co­hol de­pen­dency syn­drome (ADS) case has also been in­creas­ing. The year 2012 marked the high­est num­ber of ADS case of 156 reg­is­tered pa­tients from which 130 were male and 26 women. One of the ADS pa­tients said, “Today I came to with­draw since I am able to leave al­co­hol and the help pro­vided from hospi­tal has changed me and my habit.”

Ev­ery year, anx­i­ety dis­or­der has been the high­est and it is shown that women suf­fer anx­i­ety more than men. In 2015, 136 women were found to be suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety dis­or­der while only 65 men suf­fered from the same men­tal ill­ness.

Dilli Ram Pokhrel, a se­nior health as­sis­tant (HA) of psy­chi­a­try OPD, said, “Women suf­fer anx­i­ety more than men due to the ex­tra bur­den they have to bear.” They are the vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and have to carry more ten­sion for the fam­ily, he added.

Dr. Ugyen Dema, a psy­chi­a­trist, said, “Not in touch with the real­ity is psy­chosis.” Dilli Ram Pokhrel said that peo­ple be­ing not aware of time, place and per­son (TPP) are con­firmed as suf­fer­ing from psy­chotic ill­ness. If peo­ple re­port hav­ing more than two ill­nesses they are re­ferred to psy­chi­atric OPD. The symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness will start like those of any other ill­ness and grad­u­ally in­crease.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port, the psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment reg­is­ters around 40 to 50 pa­tients daily in­clud­ing both old and new cases. The old case pa­tients turn out for their fol­low-up treat­ment and med­i­ca­tion while for the new cases, the de­tailed history of the pa­tient has to be di­ag­nosed.

Other disease can be di­ag­nosed by ma­chines and other check­ups but men­tal ill­ness can only be known by di­ag­nos­ing their history and talk­ing with the pa­tient’s rel­a­tive said, Dilli Ram Pokhrel.

Dilli Ram Pokhrel, who has worked in the psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment for al­most 10 year, was once a men­tally ill pa­tient him­self. He was suf­fer­ing from mood dis­or­der but with con­tin­u­ous treat­ment and coun­sel­ing he could re­cover from it and now he can treat many men­tally ill pa­tients.

Psy­chotic ill­ness is like any other ill­ness which is cur­able if known at the right time and given the right treat­ment, Dilli Ram Pokhrel said.

Psy­cho­log­i­cal first aid refers to pro­vid­ing help to men­tally dis­turbed peo­ple. Dr. Ugyen Dema said, “Be there to show them com­pas­sion”. An­other goal of psy­cho­log­i­cal first aid is to sup­port re­silience in our­selves and oth­ers. Re­silience means the men­tal abil­ity to re­cover quickly and re­turn back to a new life.

Psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment reg­is­ters the cases based on nine cat­e­gories, namely de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, ADS, so­mata-form dis­or­der, epilepsy, psy­chosis, poly sub­stance abuse, BPAD and oth­ers. Cur­rently there are only three psy­chi­a­trists in the psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment at the hospi­tal.

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