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Allocate funds for mental health: Child rights activists and child mental health specialists

D.N.I.S. News Network Child rights activists and specialists in child mental health have demanded that the Centre allocate funds for child and adolescent mental health in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. So far no funds have been allocated in the Union Budget for child and adolescent mental health.

Alarmed over the zero budget allocation for child and adolescent mental healthcare in India, child rights activists and specialists in child mental health have written to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, stating that an adequate allocation must be made to achieve positive mental health for every child in India. The letter stresses the fact that approximately 65 million children and adolescents have a significant disorder at any given time, apart from other stress-related issues and suicides.

According to W.H.O. studies in India, 12.8 per cent children suffer from psychiatric disorders. And this is from among the children and adolescents who, at present constitute 40 per cent of the Indian population! Yet, India does not have policies and programmes in mental health. Further, there are no specialised courses for doctors in the field of child mental health.

Demanding that there should be a fundamental shift in the health and nurturing policy in India, the specialists have sought a meeting with the Prime Minister.