Uttarakhand: Natural disasters

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Uttarakhand: A history of disasters

Arc of destruction due to natural disasters in Uttarakhand, 2013; The Times of India, Feb 3, 2017

Uttarakhand floods, 2015

Sharp rise in mental disorders

The Times of India, Oct 11 2015

Shivani Azad

U'khand floods lead to deluge of mentally ill

'Number rises from 60 in 2012 to 7,000 in 2015

The number of patients with `severe mental disorders' has multiplied 100 times in the last three years in Uttarakhand -from 60 in 2012 to almost 7,000 today as per the data compiled by the state health department. A large part of the jump, say worried health officials, can be attributed to the devastating floods of 2013 that killed thousands and displaced lakhs, with innumerable families still waiting for their missing kin to come back. Many are yet to get over the trauma, say doctors.

“That (the floods) led to a number of mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia,“ said an official, adding, “Compounding it are factors like hectic lifestyles, increasingly disrupted family structure and growing unemployment among the youth.“

Acknowledging that the problem was a serious one, J S Bisht, senior psychiatrist of the State Mental Health Institute in Selaqui, said, “As a society, we should be sensitive towards people who are diagnosed with this illness. Unfor tunately , in Uttarakhand, patients are treated as cursed individuals. This stigma and discrimination is prevalent right from family members to hospital care givers. There are times when the kin of mental patients are not ready to take them back and we have to seek legal intervention.“

What is compounding the problem is that the state doesn't have any public rehabilitation centre for mental patients. According to Bisht, 7% of Uttarakhand's population reportedly suffer from some form of mental ailment.

Incidentally , the state has been planning to start a reha bilitation centre in Haridwar for the past six years, which is moving at snail's pace.

When Vishnu Singh Dhanik, director of social welfare department, was asked the reason for the delay , he said, “The proposals we had received for running the rehabilitation centres were not meeting the criteria set by us. But recently , we have received a few good proposals and we are mulling over outsourcing the mental rehabilitation work.“

Interestingly , this year's mental health day's theme is `dignity in mental health.'

See also

Char Dham yatra

Dhari Devi (Char Dham)



Uttarakhand: environment, ecology

Uttarakhand: Forest fires

Uttarakhand: Landslides, subsidence

Uttarakhand: Natural disasters

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