Keshab Mahanta: Mental Health Problems Rise in Assam

Guwahati: Assam Health & Family Welfare Minister Keshab Mahanta stated on Friday that there have been an increase in patients with mental health issues over time, with more cases coming to light since the commencement of COVID.

Mahanta stated in the assembly that 927 suicide instances were reported between April 2021 and March 2022 in response to a non-starred question posed by BJP lawmaker Mrinal Saikia.

According to the minister, there were 119 cases in the Kamrup district, followed by 68 in Barpeta and 59 in Baksa.

721 suicide cases were reported between April and November of this year, with Kamrup once again registering the greatest number (68).

“Since the COVID pandemic, many patients with mental health problems have sought expert help,” the minister added.

New OPD (outpatient department) and IPD (in-patient department) numbers under the National Mental Health Programme in 2020-21 were 17,832 and 3,807, respectively, which increased to 29,557 and 3,873 in 2021-22, Mahanta said.

Between April and November 2022, there were 30,733 new OPD registrations, compared to 3,029 new IPD registrations.

The minister added that such patients were also receiving tele-counselling through a helpline number, which received 3,550 calls between April and November 2022 and 11,139 calls between January 2020 and March 2022.

Males and those between the ages of 20 and 30 made up the majority of callers in terms of gender and age breakdown.

Another tele-counselling service, ‘Tele MANAS’, has also been launched in the state from November 1 this year, he said.

A ‘Suicide Prevention Initiative’ has also been undertaken to understand the reasons behind suicide cases. It was rolled out in 10 districts in the first phase, Mahanta added.

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