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‘25% of world suffers from some mental disorder at any point in time’: Experts

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Amritsar (Punjab): Forensic psychiatrists, taking part in a two-day annual conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society, have said that around twenty five percent of the population across the world suffers from one or the other mental disorder at any given point in time.

The conference, which began here today, is being organised by Punjab and Chandigarh Branch of the Indian Psychiatric Society ( PUNCIPS).

The event, which is being held here to discuss prospect and further development in the field of Forensic Psychiatry, saw participation of over a 100 doctors from India and abroad,

A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Ramneesh Puri and Dr. Manjit S Gahir, both Consultant Forensic Psychiatrists from the United Kingdom, described how forensic psychiatry can help persons with mental disorders who sometimes commit crimes.

Dr. Puri explained that this is the branch of psychiatry that deals with law, criminal matters, prisons and courts. He said up to twenty five percent of the population across the world suffers with one or the other mental disorder at any given point in time.

“If a person is convicted of some violent or non violent crime commissioned in a mentally unwell state, he/she is thrown behind bars here (India) and but in countries like UK, it is not so. The society extends its hands to help these ‘non criminals’ whilst continuing to manage their risk to the general public. We need a similar kind of awareness and processes in Indian society too” he said.

He further informed that in case of non-serious offences, there is no need to lodge such ‘criminals’ in jails as courts can issue supervision orders directing them to regularly appear before Psychiatrists for their treatment.

The duo works at Rampton High Security Hospital in Nottingham. Dr. Puri also works as visiting psychiatrist to two large prisons in the area, while Dr Gahir specialises in the field of Deaf Psychiatry.

Several other prominent psychiatrists also spoke at the event, including Dr Sunita Guha (UK), Clinical Psychologist Jackie Nussey, Deaf Social Worker Alexis Lepp, Senior Clinical Pharmacist Jason Lowe and Nurse Practitioner Hannah Cobb, besides others.

They will be later joined by Dr Alex Hamilton, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist from St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton, UK.

Other speakers at the conference include Dr Aseem Garg, who will talk about De-addiction services in custodial settings in the UK. Local Psychiatrists from Amritsar and Chandigarh will speak on human rights and current changes to mental health legislation, while a team of doctors from NIMHANS in Bangalore will lead a symposium on the insanity defence.

Organising chairman, Dr. P.D. Garg and Dr. Ramneesh Puri were quoted as saying “this will be a very exciting conference with much to learn from each other, working in a spirit of co-operation and mutual respect”. (ANI)

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