April 2004 News

Mental Disorders On The Rise In Kashmir

7 April 2004
The Hindu

Srinagar: The 14-year-old turmoil in Kashmir has taken a heavy toll with the number of people suffering from psychological disorders on the rise. The young generation is among the worst sufferers with experts apprehending a genetic disorder in case the problem is not addressed to urgently. A three-day workshop on 'Children, mental health and conflict in Kashmir' organised here by AMAN, a Delhi-based charitable trust, over the week-end was an eye-opener for scores of people who attended it. From the causes of disorder to its expanding trend in the society many issues were discussed at a number of sessions in the seminar. Mushtaq Margoob, a leading psychiatrist, stated that the number of such patients has increased six times. 'Everyday we see more than 250 patients, which was not the case in normal times,' he said. He said that of 24,465 cases reported to the lone Government Hospital for Psychiatry in Srinagar, 12,342 were new. People from lower to middle class bear the brunt of the situation prevailing in the Valley and it leads to severe stress, he said. The violence, according to Dr Margoob, leaves a devastating impact on the psyche of people. Alarming aspect of the problem, the expert suggested, is that many juveniles are resorting to harder substances. Substantiating the argument they pointed out that 22 girls from some prominent schools in Srinagar consume heroine. 'Seventy percent of drug abusers are taking hard substances,' said Dr Margoob adding that even in rural areas the youth are used to take anti-depressants on their own. The experts pointed out that because of social stigma a good chunk of the people suffering from disorders do not visit hospitals. The violent situation has also given rise to suicidal tendencies among the youth and out of 10 lakh people suffering from disorders, over one lakh have tendencies to commit suicide.


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