Saturday, March 22, 2014

General Health & Mental Health: Role of Social Psychiatry

General health physicians should take into account the social milieu of the population. The social psychiatry plays a major role in the evaluation and management of mental health in addition to general health of a person. For example, we propagate compulsory immunization for children but at the same time we also educate our people for observance of sanitary principles; similar association exists between the general health and mental health. The practice of medicine is incomplete without the knowledge of social psychiatry. The social psychiatry has a unique place in the medical speciality of psychiatry.

Every psychiatric patient should not be considered a lunatic or insane person. Only severely regressed psychiatric patients are confined to custodial mental hospitals and 95% of psychiatric patients can be treated by general physicians having knowledge of social psychiatry. Psychiatry plays a vital role in social development. It has been established that economic and technological developments are not merely linear processes but extensions of individual personality factors.

For overall progress, the population will have to be motivated for achievement and guided for shedding traditional inhibitions to proceed on the path of industrialization and technological growth. Technological developments do have serious repercussions on mental health and quality of life. It is the universal truth that "Freedoms of life and pursuit of happiness can degenerate into a freedom to plunder, waste and pollute". Gene cloning, stem cell research, genetic engineering and organ transplantation are challenging and threatening the personal identity of one and all. Organs of underprivileged people are removed for transplantation in the elite and wealthy. The organ trade has denigrated the super-speciality of organ transplantation.

Mankind has developed and perfected the weapons of self destruction and annihilation. The entire issue of conflict between nations can only be solved through social psychiatry. To establish the world peace, nuclear disarmament is must and psychiatrists have a major role to play to format the mindset of international leaders.

Without mental health the life is meaningless. For meaningful life, coexistence of general health and mental health is must. We should never forget that general health adds years to life, whereas the mental health provides us purpose and meaning of living.

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