Remove superstition about mental illness, Modi tells doctors

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Bengaluru: Citing lack of knowledge and awareness and superstition as the challenges in the field of mental health, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked young professionals to treat patients with empathy and work for eradicating superstition regarding mental illness in society.

Delivering his convocation address at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) here, he said “superstition often blocked proper treatment and cure for the mentally ill”. He said the field of mental health faces the triple challenges of lack of knowledge, lack of awareness, and superstition, and people should understand that mental illness is curable scientifically.

Modi, who started his speech by greeting the audience in Kannada, welcomed poor children from different schools in Bengaluru who were present at the Convocation, calling them ‘special guests’.

Stating that it was his wish that some poor school students be invited at the convocation that he attends across the country, he said “when these children attend such events it will give rise to aspirations in them.”

He also encouraged the students who were being awarded degrees at the convocation to interact with these children, saying it could prove inspirational for them. NIMHANS that evolved from mental asylum in 1850 became the All India Institute of Mental Health founded by Dr Govindaswamy in 1954 and in 2013 it rose to the status of Institute of National Importance.

Union Health Minister and President of the NIMHANS Institute Body Jagat Prakash Nadda said mental health and well being was an emerging area of concern for the entire globe, and India was no exception. “High suicide rates, depression, violence, discord are all manifestation of poor mental health,” he said.

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