Kochi: Experts attending the regional congress of World Association of Social Psychiatry which began here on Saturday have stressed the need for psychiatric intervention to ensure mental health of people affected by century's worst natural calamity. Psychiatrists who are experienced in working in disaster-struck areas in different parts of the world are presenting papers during the symposium on disaster mental health and caring communities.
Dr. Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, secretary general of World Association of Social Psychiatry while inaugurating the conference, observed that the recent floods could bring a positive change among the mindset of Keralites who were living insulated to neighbours. "When the disaster struck, they were forced to change their attitude of remaining isolated from neighbourhood. They realised the importance of maintaining neighbourhood relations," he said.
Dr. Joseph Varghese, organising committee chairman, presided over the function. He also observed that understanding the sociocultural background of the person is as important as genetic factors in diagnosis and treatment.
"There are only 6,000 psychiatrists for the 130 crore population in India which means there is only one doctor for two lakh people. As per World Health Organisation, the ratio is one psychiatrist for 10,000 people," he added.
More than 300 delegates from across the Asian countries are participating in the two-day conference. Papers will be presented on topics including sexual harassment at workplace, socio-cultural issues in sex in contemporary world, cultural diversity and mental health, gender issues and mental health, social support as therapy and rebuilding mind - lessons from flood situation in Kerala.