Community Psychiatry in India

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Psychiatric training needs reform: correcting an overdose of the (neuro)biological to an inclusion of the social, the cultural and the public-mental-health.


A theme which I would call:  inclusion of newer and emerging streams of knowledge into psychiatric training in medical schools; came for deliberation as a cross cutting theme in at least three symposia in the just concluded congress of the WASP.This was expressed as a need in the backdrop of the distortion being created now at the level of teaching of psychiatry in medical schools. The distortion being – an excessive/near-total focus on the (neuro)biological.

The symposia were……….

  1. Teaching Social Psychiatry to Medical Professionals

    [Roy AKallivayalil, RachidBennegadi, JE Mezzich, KS Prabhavathy, RR Gogineni, Michaela Amering,VPPunnoose Chair:Edgard Belfort, VG Watve]


The idea of including person centered care approaches into psychiatric medical training was put forward by one of the speakers. A framework for a person centered diagnostic formulation was felt as useful. The same has already been developed and an internet source to the same provided.


  1. Integrating Social Psychiatry and Global Mental Health in Medical Education: A New Way Forward

    [Amy Gajaria, Anna Fiskin, June Lam, David Matthews, Rani Kotha Chair: F Ferrero, MushtaqMargoob]


One of the speakers spoke of a resident-led program to include cultural-psychiatry into the training in Canada.


  1. Mental Health Care in LMICS: Driving the Paradigm shift, the FAST program

    [A Soghoyan, P Ramachandran, C Szabo, J Fine, DrissMoussaoui (Supported by Sanofi) Chair: Tom Craig, Roy A Kallivayalil]


One of the speakers called for including public-mental-health as a specialization in psychiatric training.

Where upon, a question was raised from the audience about how it would be different from the already existing specialization of social and community psychiatry which was already there in many countries. [like NIMHANS in India has post-doctoral fellowship in community psychiatry in addition to those in addiction, child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric, liaison psychiatry, schizophrenia, OCD]. The answer to the question is provided as a separate blog post. Click here.


So concluding, these emerging threads of scientific knowledge will definitely need space in the training of psychiatric doctors and professionals in near future.


Community-Psychiatry and Public-Mental-Health: are they the same?


A question was raised from the audience during a symposium@WASP 2016, about the relation between the existing community and social psychiatry specialization in academic psychiatry and the emerging specialization of public-mental-health.

Are the two compatible? Will there be conflict?

 It was well answered by the speaker who had earlier in his talk had called for inclusion of public-mental-health specialization in psychiatric training.

He said community psychiatry has more of clinical involvement i.e it is not just about providing medical care in the community but also involving in daycare, halfway homes, residential homes, rehabilitation etc; while public-mental-health is more conceptually involved i.e about epidemiology, effect of funding priorities on service delivery and outcomes. Thus its focus on funding/resources will basically provide the support for the clinically involved community psychiatry – i.e it will provide the ammunition. There is synergy in that way though there are these distinctions.

They are not the same, he said.