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New guidelines to tackle mental health of inmates

Doctors of AII India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in collaboration with Delhi Prison Administration have drafted first guidelines on mental health issues for inmates in jail. The manual known as ‘Psychological First Aid’ will be released on Tuesday.

At present, only Pennsylvania has constituted a detailed manual on mental health for prisoners. Dr Nand Kumar, professor of psychiatry at AIIMS has framed these guidelines on mental health condition for prisoners.

Talking to Mail Today, Ajoy Kashyap, DG of Jail (Delhi) said: “We are continuously giving sensitizing training to our volunteers and counselors about the mental health issues in Tihar jail for the past one year. But there was no manual as such. AIIMS doctors have helped us to develop first ever manual for prisoners mental health condition with an aim to decrease suicide rate in Tihar , Delhi Prison Administration is running ‘Project Samarthan’.”

In the past one year, there is a significant reduction in suicide rate and various forms of violence (up to 50 per cent) in Delhi prisons. Last year, only one suicide case was reported, added Kashyap.

“Prisoners are more vulnerable to mental health issues like stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, suicidal tendencies etc. Therefore, it was necessary to sensitize jail authorities,” Dr Kumar told Mail Today. “So far about 7000 inmates have been assessed and given proper counseling as per their psychological needs,” Dr Kumar added.


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