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The Assam government is planning to appoint a dedicated team of mental health experts in the jails across the state.
According to reports, the Prisons Department is intending to appoint psychiatrists and psychologists with each of the 31 jails in the state. The move is especially for the inmates who have been sentenced to imprisonment for a long duration.
"Mental health is a major issue in the prisons. To put an effective mental care intervention in place, we need a dedicated team of experts backed by an equally robust support system," a source at the Prisons department told The Assam Tribune.
The experts also will be engaged to offer correctional psychiatric treatment to the inmates on a need basis after the systematic periodical screening.
"Most of the inmates find it really tough to cope with the separation from their loved ones which is why issues like anger management and stress management become very crucial. There have been instances of inmates committing suicides under such circumstances," added the source.
Reports suggest that the concerned department has already submitted a proposal to the Home and Political departments asking the latter to create new posts for mental health experts for their appointment. This decision also gains importance at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has been reported to impact the mental health of the people across the world.
"At the moment, the actual strength of doctors is much less than the sanctioned posts. Many prisons are functioning with a doctor and in the event of an emergency, they tend to avail the respective civil hospital or medical college. Sometimes, situation aggravates due to absence of timely treatment," the source pointed out, adding that the jails are roping in doctors from the National Health Mission as part of a stop-gap arrangement.
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