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NIMHANS to focus on training human resources to boost competence in clinical psychology

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Saturday, August 12, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) is accelerating its pace of human resources training to provide the much-needed convenient care. The institute sees the need to build a pool of clinical psychologists to widen the scope of therapy access. India a few years ago accounted for 1.5 clinical psychologist for 100,000 population which is now increased to 4.5 clinical psychologists catering to 100,000 population.
Playing host to the first national level conference CPSICON-2023 of Clinical Psychology Society of India (CPSI) which attracted 800 participants, NIMHANS stated that the government was giving prime focus to mental health as an important part of well-being and overall health. Further, the theme of the event ‘Mental Health for Changing World: New Challenges and Opportunities’ emphasized the collective efforts of clinical psychology professionals as the need of the hour.
Karnataka health and family welfare minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao who inaugurated CPSICON-2023 said that as a progressive state, Karnataka gave due attention to mental health and in its budget in July this year as the government had allocated a sum for the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative in collaboration with NIMHANS.
Concerned over the rise in mental health issues, Dr Jamuna Rajeswaran, head, department of clinical psychology, NIMHANS and president, CPSI, noted that there is a need for not just funds but resources to monitor evidence-based therapies and develop community-based networks to counsel and care the needy.
Dr Pratima Murthy, director, NIMHANS said that it was pertinent to strengthen the pool of clinical psychologists who could in-turn train and create the adequate workforce to take forward projects like the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative. Also in an age of innovation, India’s young smart minds needed to come together to develop digital solutions, devices and apps to enhance the quality of mental health.
There is a need to understand the cognitive learning capabilities and integrate technology into clinical psychology which will play a significant role in development of human resources for training which is at the cross roads, she added.
The interpersonal training in clinical psychology can support self-care too. In today’s work places interpersonal skills are of prime importance. Therefore, our clinical psychologists need to access institutes of higher learning to help people discover their strengths, said the NIMHANS chief.
Besides, there is a need to promote resilience to assess and mental, emotional and behavioral disorders which can help solve the complex human problems. Another area of attention is the inter-generation adjustment particularly in the ageing population. It is here, we need to develop the required expertise to meet the growing needs. It was the Covid pandemic which magnified the need for mental health support. Hence, we view it as a priority to increase pool of human resources to provide the psychology care to the masses and also prevent premature fatality through suicides, said Dr Murthy.
Noting that clinical psychology is an integral part of not just mental health but healthcare, Dr BS Shankaranarayana Rao, registrar, NIMHANS said that even though our institute is at the forefront of training, we need to create the required qualified workforce to enrich and enhance the knowledge of the profession.
To this end, NIMHANS’s integrated programmes and high-end labs that help to comprehend the cognitive functions will give a boost to the creation of the required pool of clinical psychologists, he added.


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