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31 August 2011

I draw your attention to the text of the Speech in Parliament on 29 th Aug 2011 by an MP from  TN on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill, in which he advocates that "unsoundness of mind, behavioural problems, alcohol and substance abuse must be treated and considered equal along with physical illness", and therefore "MBBS should have psychiatry as an examination subject", and goes on to provide concrete recommendations to "fight the stigma against psychiatric  illness and mental health problems". The full text is given below:

29.08.2011                   1531 hours

Dr.P.Venugopal (Tiruvallur):
Mr.Chairman, Sir, I would like to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Juvenile Justice( Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill,2011.

Sir, in an effort to curb discrimination against minors suffering from communicable diseases, the Government is all set to amend an Act providing for the care and protection of the children. The Draft Bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act seeks to prohibit authorities from sending minor children to mental asylums and separate treatment for those suffering from diseases such as leprosy and tuberculosis. According to the amendments, instead of sending such children to mental asylums, the authorities will have to ensure proper treatment and that such person is not abandoned in the mental asylums/psychiatric nursing homes.

The Union Law Ministry , with which the Amendment is under consideration, has advised the removal of Section 58 from the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 which provided for a juvenile suffering from communicable diseases to be treated separately. It leads to stigma.
 According to the new Draft, only Communicable diseases have been omitted, but unsoundness of mind, behavioral problems and drug addiction have been retained. This is in accordance with the existing Mental Health Act, 1987.The amendments were mooted to keep the Act synchronous with the UN Charter of Human Rights. I appreciate the Ministry of Social Justice and the Law Ministry in taking up children’s care in bringing down such amendments to the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

But here I would like to say that the aim & objective is not totally achieved. It is in accordance with the Indian Mental Health Act, 1987.It is not so simple. Still, the stigma is playing a major role in keeping them in the psychiatric nursing homes. The unsoundness of mind, behavioural problems, alcohol and substance abuse must be treated and considered equal along with physical illness.
But the point is that primary care doctors, general physicians do not have exposure & training in dealing with mental health problems. Because, Psychiatry is not an Examination subject in the MBBS Curriculum, they do not have enough knowledge in dealing with mental health problems. Children, adolescents, youth are facing a lot of psychological stress and mental health problems. So, the basic medical education, that is, MBBS should have Psychiatry as an Examination subject. As of date, almost all psychological problems are treatable and curable. Hence, the Ministry of Social Justice and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should put in their efforts to bring Psychiatry as an Under graduate Examination subject. If it is done, then, all doctors will be able to treat mental illness at an affordable cost for the huge population of this country. In all our neighboring countries, including Sri Lanka, psychiatry is an examination subject in MBBS.

Sir, I want to share my views with the Hon. Minister and the HON. Members that alcohol should not be served or supplied to people below the age of 21 years at the bars and banquets. Second, enough funds must be allocated for the treatment of Alcoholism and drug abuse. Third, District level centers for treatment of alcoholism must be established. Fourth, a chapter on promoting mental health must be included in the school curriculum from ninth standard onwards. Lastly, enough training centers for Counseling and Rehablitation  should be established.
To conclude, I would like to say that this will be the first and firm step to fight the stigma against psychiatric illness and mental health problems.

Thank you,

Date: 15-07-2011

Dear colleagues,

Greetings to you!

We are indeed happy to invite you all to Kochi for the 64th Annual Conference Of Indian Psychiatric Society. Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country” and it is truly so. Kochi being the financial capital of Kerala, is rich in its infrastructure and connectivity to meet all the requirements. Also, Malayalees are known for simplicity in their lifestyle and magnanimity in their hospitality and culture.

The theme of the conference ‘Psychiatry… Mysteries to Molecules’ is well thought by the organisers and appropriate as on date. The scientific Committee of IPS is trying its level best to make the scientific content of the meet to satisfy all the sections of our society.  You will be having a piece of the universe.

The success of a conference is rated only by the academic out come. Thus we request all the members to contribute by engaging in symposiums, workshops, free paper and poster presentations. Encourage the students to take part effectively in the meet. All the members should take part in the deliberation and make the scientific section more interesting and useful. The organisers are making all efforts to meet the demand and we are sure that you all will be satisfied with the organizational skills of the IPS Cochin Local Branch under the guidance of the IPS Kerala State Branch.

Last but not the least. the perfection, grandiosity and flexible character of Dr Kuruvilla Thomas and Dr A.J. John and their team will make this conference an historical event in the IPS life.

Wish to meet you all in Kochi in Jan 2012.

With warm regards,


Dr. M Thirunavukarasu                                      Dr. U C Garg

President IPS                                                      Hony. General Secretary IPS


Dear Colleagues,

The World Psychiatric Association is proud of the outstanding quality of the scientific program of the 15th World Congress of Psychiatry (Buenos Aires, September 18-22, 2011), now available on the Congress website (

More than 6,000 paid registrations have been already received and not less than 10,000 participants are expected. An extremely attractive program of tours for participants and accompanying persons has been charted out.

The President WPA Prof. Mario Maj has sent us a warm personal invitation and offered special conditions to groups of participants. For details about this, interested people can contact Mrs. Paula Buczak (

We expect you to join us in this memorable event.

With warmest regards,


Dr. M Thirunavukarasu                                      Dr. U C Garg

President IPS                                                      Hony. General Secretary IPS


Dear Fellows,

                      There are  lot of views and mails in the e-IPS group saying that the IPS is not active and is not given due share in most of the committees formed by the Government. Moreover, I  Think that many people may share the same opinion expressed in the e-IPS group.

                      Actually, the truth is quite different.  Most of the things happening in the Governmant are because of the active participation of the IPS, including the formation of the committee on Mental Health Policy of the nation is based on our Society’s request and appeal.

                      The Government may not be giving a place in the Committee for various reasons. Once we make an appeal or request to the Government, and based on the appropriateness and validity of our request, they form an expert committee.The experts are picked from various quarters without prejudice.These members are expected to contact the other Societies, to get feedback and views. It does not  mean that such members make the decision on their own. They represent the majorities views and give expert opinion on those matters.Then the government is supposed to deliberate with the various stake holders of the subject in the country as a hole and arrive at conclusion. The Committee members thus submit their opinions/ideas and the Government does not interfere in their function. So, if somebody is nominated as a member of a Committee, then responsibility lies with them to collect details from various sources based on adequate and reliable information. Without this homework, they usually do not submit their opinion/ final word. The same procedure was followed for the MHA. Many of the recommendations made by the IPS were well appreciated and implemented.

                   I know that the Government identifies people to give their expert opinion and I am sure they will discharge their duties to the outmost satisfaction. of every body. Keeping  this in mind, our learned members and fellows should send their views to the Society & to members directly to enrich & empower them to make appropriate decisions & help the Government in such a way their contributionis useful to everybody.
Meanwhile we are also contacting different sources to grab the opportunity to get things done.Expecting your co operation in the pursuit of promoting mental health for all,




Dear Fellows,

Greetings to all.

This is my first communication after I took over as President and I thank all of you electing me to to lead you.

The following are my dreams.To bring them to fruition I need your support and guidance.

I would like all our members to organize a ONE DAY program to promote mental health awareness in their area. This program must involve the Bureaucrats , Policy makers, Public, Media,and various Stake holders. Starting at 9.00am it should be organised as follows:
There should a session for each category of which at least 30 minutes must be devoted to discussion. 

  • One hour for the Bureaucrats,LIke IAS, Revenue Officials, District administrators.
  • One hour for Judiciary right from the High court to district magistrates and munsifs.
  • One hour for Law enforcing authorities fro the District officials to the level of Inspectors or Sub inspectors.
  • One hour for the School authorities. from the district authorities, to head masters, and school correspondents.
  • One hour for the Teachers,
  • One hour for the public

The participants must be appraised about, Mind, Mental health , Gravity of the problem, availability of services, and how to access it. Each group has got certain specific roles in promoting mental health in the community and these things must be highlighted. The proceedings must be, as far as possible,  in the local languages.

I am ready to come and conduct a program for local psychiatrists in one centre per state my self during which I would like to appraise them of the message that I am trying to communicate to the public. The same thing could be repeated in different centre of the state through the year.
Hence I request the Fellows to give me dates so that I can prepare my calendar for the year. 

My first preference will be for the states Of Jammu& Kashmir, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Northeast and Uttar pradesh, Jharkand,Chattisgarh , Utranchal and to all the other states.

If the member wants I can write directly to the State chiefs also. regarding this,

MY dates shall be available on first come first served.

Prof. M.Thirunavukkararasu

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