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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-117

Presidential address at annual conference of IPSWZB, Nagpur, 2020

Consultant Psychiatrist, Govardhan Hospital, Amravati, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission04-Oct-2020
Date of Decision08-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Laxmikant Rathi
Govardhan Hospital, Ambapeth, Amravati - 444 601, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_120_20

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How to cite this article:
Rathi L. Presidential address at annual conference of IPSWZB, Nagpur, 2020. Ann Indian Psychiatry 2020;4:115-7

How to cite this URL:
Rathi L. Presidential address at annual conference of IPSWZB, Nagpur, 2020. Ann Indian Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 27];4:115-7. Available from: https://www.anip.co.in/text.asp?2020/4/2/115/301425

IPS President Dr. Dalal and Hon. Secretary Dr. T. S. S. Rao, All the past presidents of our organization titled as “Indian Psychiatric Society Western Zone” and all the esteemed members of our organization from Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa. A very good evening to all of you! Today is the birth anniversary of the Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi, very auspicious day. So I pay my humble tribute to the human who made our country free. I consider myself lucky to be installed on such an auspicious day and his birth place being in our zone; it is a matter of pride for all of us.

I feel everything should have some purpose and same is true with Presidential address also. Since a few days I was thinking about what I should speak in my Presidential address. As I am a certified senior faculty of Lions Club International for whole Asia and go as a faculty at various places for orations and speeches, I have many topics ready with audio-visuals etc., on Effective leadership, Communication skills, Time management, Team building and so on which are useful to our organization and colleagues too and can be easily done. But I decided to have some “Mann Ki Baat” with you on this occasion because I feel that we are all Doctors of “Mind” which is called “Mann” in Hindi, our national language. In our body, there is only one such organ which is not seen by anybody till date, and no one knows its shape or size. Though none of us can say that it's not with us, we all treat this Mann also known as Mind. Of course all this is always linked with brain too which is a structural organ.

If I go back in “Flashback” when I entered Mumbai after graduating from Nagpur in 1979; then my aim was to become a postgraduate in Pediatrics or Medicine and Psychiatry was nowhere in my mind. But I was determined to postgraduation. At that time, the rules were different. There were no competitive examinations and students passed from Bombay University were preferred and same was at Nagpur University too. So as an outsider I did not get any house post or registration in pediatrics or medicine. But I got registration in DPM for which I had applied and that gave something in hand in order to stay in Mumbai. After getting registration I got a house post in Cooper Hospital under Dr. Vihang Vahia Sir. So he was my first teacher in Psychiatry. I still remember those golden days and his sense of humor. We used to go to KEM hospital on Tuesdays to attend OPD of Dr. Doongaji who was my guide for DPM. We used to prepare very hard before presenting a case to him as it used to be a mind blowing experience. This was usually followed by visiting a coffee house with Dr. Ashit Seth. By this time, I had developed a deep interest in the field of psychiatry and I decided to become a psychiatrist only. Today I feel proud as well as fortunate that I became a psychiatrist. My teacher for MD was Dr. Jayant Apte and had the fortune of working with Dr. V N Bagadia for few months in Bombay Hospital too.

When I was going back to my city Amravati to start practice in 1982 I asked Bagadia sir to give me few tips to be successful and how to increase awareness of psychiatry in a small town of about 2 lakhs population at that time. He told me “Upgrade Psychiatry” and you will be upgraded automatically. I am following these words to the best of my capacity and I am thankful to all these teachers who made me what I am today. These faces are reflecting in front of my eyes even now as I talk about them. Such was the relationship of teacher and student at that time. I have no hesitation in saying that such talented and committed teachers are not very common now and same is true probably about the students discipline also.

I feel that as an organization we should concentrate on this field of how the teaching can be more effective. I think that one way to do it is to start Honorary Posting of Teachers again in the medical colleges as before. For example, I myself am not attached to any medical college. Though I had a chance but I was totally interested in private practice only at that time. But today, I have a desire not only to teach students but also become an examiner. I think there may be others too and as an organization some thought should be given to implement this.

Now let's go back to the words “Up-grade Psychiatry.” I think that these words are still relevant today, because there are still so many misconceptions about our field. Whether it is scientific or not, whether mind exists or not and so on. This is happening because we are treating only the tip of iceberg. A part of the iceberg is treated by our colleagues from other specialties and many more remain untreated. As we all know most of other faculty members such as physicians, cardiologists, neurophysicians, and even neurosurgeons write some amount of anxiolytics, antidepressants, or even antipsychotic drugs without knowing much about these molecules. It is commonly said, if we write it is a sleeping pill and if they write it is for tension. Awareness has increased a lot in last many years, but I feel there is enough scope to increase it.

If the awareness about psychiatry and psychological health is not much today, who is responsible for that? I think us or our organizations too. We all and specially the young budding psychiatrists must work on it continuously and we can all do it collectively as so many modes of communications are available today, electronic media, print media, etc., Some of us are already doing that but effort is required from each corner of the country, and then, only the awareness will reach to every corner of the country.

Sometimes I feel that we as an organization do not tackle or raise the issue at proper time whether it is law making or any other thing and then we debate on it once it is passed. I feel whenever any legislation is in process we as an organization should remain in an alert mode and should raise the issues at all levels right from local branches to our highest branch and then only as an organization we will be making some impact for the benefit of our members who are associated with us as well as the society.

Personally I have a great objection on the words titled as “Mental Health.” I feel that that should not be used at all and instead of that “Psychological Health” are the words which should be used. Our bills, etc., should be titled as “Psychological Health Bill” instead of Mental Health Bill. But we have become so accustomed to it that we have forgotten some things. For example, when we are given degrees of DPM or MD, they were titled as Diploma or Masters Degree in Psychological Health and not the Mental Health and still it is so. So I feel that if in future any laws are to made our organizations at topmost level should make recommendations accordingly and should try to best of their capacity and resources in order to get them implemented. Until the word “Mental” is not removed the word Paagal (Mad) won't go. Till the time the social stigma is not removed the people at large will not talk about their psychological illnesses as they do about their other physical illnesses. “I got my By-pass done, there were four blockages, I got 5 stents.” We see such things posted on Face-book also but never any things about depression. Why? The reason is social stigma. Till the time people start talking about it there won't be any mouth to mouth publicity and the awareness won't increase. So we should teach people to talk about their psychological health issues and that will help in many ways especially in prevention of suicides.

Suicide is also major issue now a day's and our organization should tackle that. The problem is causing very much concern in farmers, students, actors and so many people in different fields. Behind every suicide there is a psychological illness and if diagnosed and treated in time we can save the person's life. Today we also cannot talk about the diseases of the patients openly as per the laws of confidentiality. The same is true for patients as they do not discuss or talk about it and rather try to hide the fact from their friends and relatives.

I feel in order to achieve that one thing we should be doing is to separate the neurotic illnesses from psychotic illnesses including their legality too. All types of neurosis should be termed as Stress Related Disorders the laws, so called Mental Health Bills should not be applied to them and they should be treated at par with other physical diseases. Why Advanced Directives and so many formalities of Admission and Discharge should be required for neurotic patients? But today everything is put in one frame and that is he has become mad. I feel it should not happen. Even when we go in the Court of Law for evidence, they only want to know whether he is mad or not and that's the only perception they have about psychological health. If we try to explain them, they don't understand as there is no such provision in the law according to them. I also feel that people at large should be educated about the neurochemical imbalance behind the psychiatric disorders which will enable them to think more scientifically.

As an organization we should also object to the wrong things shown in either film industry or any other electronic platforms; things like methodology of giving ECTs, all the coloured lights glow and the patient is shown in such agony. I still remember it shown in this manner in one movie to great star Amitabh Bachchan too. It gives rise to great impact in society and is remembered by them also for years together. As such, people are scared about ECTs and such picturization increases their fear more. I feel that on many such occasions we don't raise objection because we feel that “Nothing happens”. I personally feel whether things change or not let the time decide, we must raise the objection. We have a very good example recently when our past president Dr. Vaishnav and his team raised objection over the title of the movie “Mental Hai Kya” and then it was changed to “Judgemental Hai Kya.”

“Drug Addiction” is another field where our organization should work and local branches should take up this issue and increase the awareness as well as taking part in rehabilitating them at large scale. We are already doing this but needs more momentum as we have noticed in last few days how the problem is prevalent from higher societies to lower class. You can understand the gravity of the problem that in small as well as big cities these substances are available on “Paan Thela”. This was initially the problem of western countries but now it is well spread in our country too.

I also feel that our organization should have some PR funds which could be utilized for increasing awareness by various methods of communication now, maybe through hoardings, banners, posters at important public places including railway stations, even air ports for example, “Say No To Drugs” and the name of the society below. We can approach the corporators also who have to spend 2% as Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of us especially in city areas have good contacts with influential people and industrialists. These can be utilized for a social cause as other NGOs also do. This will also uplift the image of the organization as well. It is our moral duty to save our next generation from the menace of drug addiction.

A topic related closely to drug addiction is suicide though there are various other reasons also. It is not taken up by the society still seriously. Most of the times it is perceived that there is only talk about suicide but the person won't commit it. This mindset has to be changed. Similarly I feel that our laws also need to be changed and we should represent for that. In most of Western countries a psychiatric consultation is a must after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. I think the same approach should be demanded in our country also.

It is my earnest request to young psychiatrists that our cake is getting cut by many other specialties in almost all fields. In child psychiatry also the certification power for neurodevelopmental disorders is given to paediatricians and neurophysicians but not psychiatrists, as in Dyslexia. Hysterical patients are getting admitted in intensive care units sometimes. Amitriptyline 10 mg is still the favourite drug of many super specialists. That “Butterfly” Brand you can still see in many prescriptions of nonpsychiatrists. So we all together have to take an alarming note of this situation and take necessary steps to control that.

I remember that there was an “Anti-psychiatry Movement” when I was doing postgraduation and I had an Essay question on that during my PG examination. I feel that anti-psychiatry movement is still going on in one or other form and we have to resist that. Imagine the situation if a law is made that all the psychological patients are to be treated by psychiatrists only and nobody else to be allowed to prescribe any neurotropic or psychotropic drugs. Then every psychiatrist will have huge line up in front of his or her clinic.

In brief, we have to reach out to the people at a greater momentum. We are doing that at various platforms but only a few of us do so. If each of us does it in electronic and print media then the things will change along with the perception that psychological diseases are at par with any other physical disease and this I feel should be our ultimate goal.

As the head of the organization I would try to implement these things whenever and wherever the necessity is there in our zone and request you also to come forward for the same. I also feel that as an organization we should stand firmly behind our esteemed member in any kind of crisis, especially legal problems if his or her stand is correct as such incidences are increasing day by day.

One thing which I will be doing definitely in my regime is to make our meetings time bound and focussed whether executive or AGBM. If they are focussed then they will be of shorter duration and more productive. Then, the new people especially young generation will also get involved and will come forward to hold various positions in our organization. Sometimes, we discuss the issue round and round and then take the same decision where we have started. This is the need of the hour to reform ourselves in all types of organization, and ours is no exception. This may help us not to adjourn our AGBM most of the times as it is happening now.

I will also be following the constitution of our organization strictly on all fronts. I have seen that at many times, it is used or misused in the name of traditions by few. I feel that it should not happen. Constitution is the soul of any organization and barring the very exceptional circumstances like this COVID pandemic it should be followed strictly 24 × 7 into 365 days. I request specially to all our EC members to go through it and get acquainted with it as a part of decision making process. It does not require much time but only willpower.

Finally, I would like to tell you all that I will not leave any stone unturned to uplift the image of our organization specially giving it a social face and increasing awareness about psychiatry as well as the “Up-grade Psychiatry” concept given to me by my Guru. I will be just a phone call away in any moment of crisis and help you need. I will take help of all the past presidents who have served this organization to the best of their capacity. I will also invite the feedbacks and inputs from all the esteemed members of the organization.

Finally, I am thankful to you all for making me President of this prestigious organization and sparing your valuable time for listening to my thoughts.


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