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The Indian Express
03 Oct 2012

At the Regional Mental Hospital Yerawada, the focus on mental health week from October 3–10 is depression . To tackle depression, a Day Care Centre for the elderly population is being set up for the first time to allow them to unwind, share emotions, play cards and watch entertainment programmes.

‘Depression – A Global Crisis’ being the theme this year for World Mental Health Day (October 10), weeklong awareness programmes have been organised and will conclude with rallies and a cultural contest for inmates of mental health institutions.

Dr Bhalchandra Donglikar, medical superintendent, Regional Mental Hospital that looks after 1,700 persons with mental illnesses, said the focus was on launching special services for the geriatric population.

Dr Madhumita Bahal senior psychiatrist says, "The aged lot are lonely as their children no longer stay with them and they have nobody to talk to."

The centre is planned on the hospital premises, and it is mainly to promote sound mental health . "We are not going to admit patients here, just offer services as a Day Care Centre from 10 am to 5 pm where they can come and spend quality time with others,” says Bahal.

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Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages and is a significant contributor to the global disease burden. Access to treatment is a problem area. Medicines are available but spending quality time with the person is what really helps.

Bahal said their outreach programme to 10 talukas of Pune district aims at providing comprehensive care and treatment where their medical team interacts with patients at rural hospitals and primary health centres. "We are planning to upgrade programme towards a more comprehensive health management and have asked for more vehicles to ferry our team to the outskirts,” Bahal added. Posters on tackling depression will be displayed at railway station and bus–stands.

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