The huge increase in patients with mental health issues indicates that people are able to come forward without the hesitation of being stigmatized because of good services and approach provided said the prime minister.
Psychiatric patients increased from 169 in 2006 to 617 in 2016 which the PM said is a big jump. From 2013 to 2016 2688 psychiatric patients were treated all across the country. “While we may need to do more in terms of health and medical treatment and psychiatric health, a lot has been done and lot more needs to be done,” the PM said adding that the cases can be brought forward even if it may not be severe.
Meanwhile health minister Tandin Wangchuk said that the people with mental disorder can be treated like any other diseases if they are detected and treated early. “Every individual has the right to avail the services from any of the health centre in the country,” he said. “Most Bhutanese still do not have an understanding of mental illness, therefore those with mental health problems face stigma and discrimination.” He said myths and beliefs about mental illness and their families should be dispelled and individuals, families, and communities should encourage people living with mental illness to seek care and support.
Currently there are 4 Psychiatrists including 1 Psychiatric Nurse and 2 counselors as mental health professionals. The ministry has already selected 4 doctors for PG in Psychiatric and Faculty of Nursing and Public Health (FNPH) in Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan.
The minister said the ministry has introduced the services at all level of health centers in the country. “The doctors, nurses and health assistants and clinical officers are trained and up-dated on early detection and treatment of mental illnesses,” he said.
The ministry has trained 86 doctors, 104 Nurses/Health Assistants and Clinical Officers in the year 2016 and 2017. “To have complementary services and counseling in mental health, mental health program has also trained 8 Menpas,” he said adding that we as Bhutanese should feel proud that health services in our country are provided free of cost.