News : PGIMER Crisis Helpline Gets Poor Response from Resident Doctors
Chandigarh, India, March 1, 2018 -- A crisis helpline started by PGIMER’s department of psychiatry in 2016 has not evoked much response from the resident doctors. According to a senior PGI doctor, the helpline, which is operational round the clock, receives "only a few calls" from the resident doctors.
On Monday morning, a 24-year-old junior resident doctor had committed suicide in his hostel room. The resident doctors have been saying that the doctors remain under "stress due to long working hours" at the institute. In May 2016, the department of psychiatry started a crisis helpline for PGIMER students. But those under stress hardly use this helpline.
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"We get one or two calls from residents in a month or two [on the helpline]," says Dr Sandeep Grover of PGI’s psychiatry department. "It is very important that people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression need to communicate and seek help." "What we have come to know is that this problem (stress) is not among resident doctors only. It is part and parcel of the stigma attached with mental illness in the general public. The problem will end only if the stigma is addressed. We need to counter this stigma. We need to understand that mental illnesses are very common and treatable," Dr Grover says.
"It’s not about one particular helpline. There are many other contact numbers which we have given to doctors. But hardly anyone comes forward to share their problems," says Dr Sandeep Tula, vice-president of Association of Resident Doctors, PGI. "It needs to be evaluated why people are not coming forward to share their difficulties. It also needs to be explored with whom they want to discuss their problems," says Dr Adarsh Kohli, Professor, department of psychiatry, PGI.
The helpline is currently run by a senior resident doctor of the department of psychiatry and operates round the clock. As per the standard operating procedure, a senior resident listens to the caller; explores or assesses (while being on the line) the nature and urgency of crisis; in case of emergency holds the caller on the line while continuously talking and explaining the need to come to hospital; takes the ID information and location information.
It is also mandatory that a psychiatry senior resident has to do a complete psychiatry evaluation and treatment, both psychological and pharmacological for those who contact on the helpline. Sources told Chandigarh Newsline that the members of the committee which was formed in January to recommend measures for tackling stress among resident doctors had been asked to submit their recommendations as soon as possible.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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