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With each passing day, the spates of mental health issues are rising in the country. Now with better awareness, more people are coming forward and speaking about the state of their mental health.

More and more people are opening about depression and we read about cases of suicide in newspapers caused due to peer pressure or harassment.

But what about rural areas, do they have enough awareness about these issues? The topic of mental health has not easily penetrated at the grassroots levels in villages.

Now in order, to change this over 150 psychiatrists from Maharashtra have joined hands and have come together to create awareness about mental health issues in rural areas.

The psychiatrists have gone door to door in people’s houses to teach them about mental health conditions and know about the importance of being in tune with the mind.

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A campaign has been launched to address the mental health conditions across the state. On June 1 and 2, psychiatrists from Maharashtra gathered  to impart mental health education among the people

Mental health experts created awareness among 22 districts in Maharashtra within a span of two days.

The interactions between people and doctors covered a range of topics related to mental health.

The first phase on April 7 was to spread awareness about depression. While the second phase on June 1 and 2, was to raise awareness on ‘Schizophrenia – a mental health disease.’ The name of this campaign was ‘Gaon tithe Mansopchar.’

Dr Amol Deshmukh, a Psychiatrist from Aurangabad, said, “People living in the rural area have a lot of misconceptions about mental illness as they are not aware of this. Owing to which a lot of people are not taking treatment properly.”

The psychiatrists were travelling from village to village to make people aware of mental illness, treatment, and prevention.

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In metro cities like Mumbai, Pune and, Nagpur a number of psychiatrists are available to help people. But, in rural areas, there is a shortage of mental health experts. People living in rural areas are not aware of the mental health and conditions.

Dr Amol added, “Compared to the urban areas, rural areas have less number of psychiatrists. Our aim is every individual should have access to mental health treatment. Hence, we have launched this campaign to reach out to each and every village.”

According to the information provided by the Maharashtra Health Ministry:

  • 29,000 farmers in Vidharbha and Marathwada are suffering from mental illnesses.
  • Each day, seven farmers commit suicide
  • During the past six months, 477 farmers have committed suicide in the Marathwada region

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The campaign was launched on April 7 to spread awareness on depression with an aim to reach out to each and every person across the state.

“We successfully implemented the pilot project across the 22 districts. 50 psychiatrist had participated in this campaign. Now, more 150 mental health experts have joined this campaign. We have managed to reach out to each and every household in the 22 districts,” concluded Dr Amol.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Milan Balkrishnan, a Mumbai-based,  psychiatrist, said, “The mental health awareness campaign was launched by the doctors themselves. We all came together as it is our duty to serve the people and society at large. As a part of the campaign, we stressed upon the use of social media, one on one interaction, and group sessions to create awareness of the mental health conditions.”

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