Dr Rajeev Kumar Sharma, Addl Director of Health Services (G), Assam cum State Programme Officer, National Mental Health Programme, Assam requested Prof Hemendra Ram Phookun, Professor and Head of the Department, Department of Psychiatry, Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Guwahati to conduct training of different categories of staff working under District Mental Health Programme (DMHP). The Department agreed and thus, under the stewardships of Prof Phookun and Dr Ramen Talukdar, Superintendent, GMCH, a team of faculties of the Department consisting of Dr Shyamanta Das (Editor of the Open Journal of Psychiatry & Allied Sciences [OJPAS®]), Dr Bornali Das (Secretary of the Society for Mental Health in LAMIC [SoMHiL]), Dr Simanta Talukdar, Dr Mythili Hazarika (President of the Society for Mental Health in LAMIC [SoMHiL]), and Dr Utpal Bora took the responsibility for the event with assist from office staff Dhanti Borah.
The following 12 districts of Assam were approached where currently DMHP is going on: Dhubri, Goalpara, Baksa, Nalbari, Darrang, Morigaon, Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Karimganj, Majuli, Tinsukia, and Dhemaji. Sixteen doctors working as Medical Officers as well as ten psychologists and social workers from the above mentioned districts turned up. They include: Dr Bhaskar Singha, Dr Probin Kr Nath, Dr Dhrubajyoti Deka, Dr Kaushik Kr Doloi, Dr Pabitra Mahilary, Dr Basob Jyoti Hazarika, Dr Nazrul Islam, Dr Aparajita Pator, Dr Lakshi Kanta Teron, Dr Rahul Nath, Dr Devraj Deori, Dr Amit Kumar Deka, Dr Abinash Talukdar, Dr Kiran Borah, Dr Guljar Hussain, Dr Sandip Roy, Pranjal Rajkhowa, Hinse Boru, Gitamoni Borah, Nirupama Chetia, Momi Devi, Snigdha Pathak, Susmita Sarkar, Prodip Timung, Puspa Kalita, and Lakhyajyoti Das.
Maslow’s basic needs were taken care of in the forms of gut satisfying food and accommodation in comfort. Thereafter resumed the brainstorming sessions of five days from 27 to 31 March 2017 having 15-class a day from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. The nature of training was in the forms of both induction and refresher training with the expected outcome of capacity enhancement to implement the activities of DMHP as per national guidelines.
Apart from the above mentioned faculties of the organising team, the resource persons also included other faculties of the Department: Dr Deepanjali Medhi, Dr Bobby Hmar, Dr Amal Chandra Baishya, and Hemanta Sharma. Dr Lakshya Basumatary from Department of Neurology, GMCH and Chandranshu Chaturvedy, Research Officer, Judicial Academy, Assam added shine to the glitterati of resource persons. While Basumatary talked on ‘epilepsy’, Chaturvedy deliberated on the ‘legal aspects in psychiatry’.
The faculties of the Department covered all the relevant topics related to mental health: aetiology of mental illness, classification of symptomatology, case history taking, case presentation, neurosis, anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, panic and phobia, conversion disorder/ somatisation, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, mania, schizophrenia, dementia, organic psychosis, delusional disorder, psychotic disorders, mental retardation, externalising disorders, internalising disorder, geriatric psychiatry, suicide and prevention, acute psychiatric emergency, alcohol and substance abuse disorder, counselling and psychotherapy, casework and group therapy, group therapy in community, microskills of counselling and practice, family therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, community based rehabilitation, stress management, psychometry, life skills education, motivational interview, psychodiagnostic and testing, advocacy and networking, parent management in childhood, ethics in counselling, integration of mental health, community mental health, research in mental health.
There was an exposure visit on 30 March 2017 to Astitva, the multispeciality clinic for holistic management where the founder Kakoli Nath, Audiologist and Speech Pathologist gave the participants orientation. Pre- and post-assessments were done along with feedback as well as certificates for participation were distributed among the participants by the faculties of the Department.