Integrating mental health care into general health services and other medical settings is the key strategy to extend mental health care into the community. The 11th five-year plan envisages extension of district mental health program to all the districts in the country. This is a very positive development in so far as mental health care is concerned. To ensure that minimal mental health care services is available in primary care settings, a manual for mental health care for primary doctors has been developed by NIMHANS nearly three decades ago. This manual has been revised several times since then.
Training primary doctors in mental health knowledge and skills is crucial since they have limited knowledge and skills for recognizing mental health problems. The manual for mental health care in primary care has been a useful and standard self-instructional manual in the country. Though several other manuals are available, the manual developed by NIMHANS has been field tested and used extensively not only in the country but also in several other developing nations. Currently, the same manual is available as a computer based learning modules with videos of actual patients seen in primary care settings in addition to videos on presentation of various disorders and side effects of medication.
The workbook for medical officers training has been a long felt need since many centres have to share the responsibility of training medical officers across the country. Formatting and structuring the training program and availability of relevant l live patient interviews is absolutely essential for conducting the training program. The workbook developed by NIMHANS will serve the purpose of uniformity in conducting the training program to deliver essential mental health care services for priority mental disorders in the community. I am sure the work book will go a long way in helping trainers to train medical officers using a standard format and also make training an enjoyable experience for the trainees.
Prof and Head Department of psychiatry NIMHANS