Maharashtra has only four government mental hospitals

Maharashtra has only four government mental hospitals


PUNE As per information received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the mental health department of the Government of Maharashtra, 184 private nursing homes have been registered in the state, with only four regional mental hospitals functioning as of May 14.

Out of six divisions in Maharashtra, Pune, Konkan, and Nagpur divisions have mental hospitals. In contrast, Amravati, Aurangabad, and Nashik divisions have no state-run mental healthcare hospital due to which a whopping 24 districts in the state are dependent on the Nagpur mental hospital, which has 940 beds. Incidentally, Vidharbha and Marathwada region records the highest number of suicide cases and has negligible mental healthcare facilities.

Due to the severe shortage of mental health facilities by the state government, the poor of these districts have no other option but to approach private mental health nursing homes. Most of the population is extremely poor in these districts, hence there is no other option but to live with their mental health condition or eventually commit suicide, say experts.

Activist Jeetendra Ghadge, ‘The Young Whistleblowers Foundation’, said, “With 18,916 deaths in 2019, Maharashtra had reported the highest number of suicides in the country and had contributed to 13.6 per cent of the total suicide figure. These unprecedented figures prove the serious mental health crisis the state is going through when it comes to giving basic mental healthcare to its people. There is an urgent need for state-owned mental health clinics in each district.”

Dr Sadhana Tayade, state director of health services, was not reachable for comments despite repeated attempts.

The regional mental hospital of Pune has 2,540 beds, Thane has 1,850 beds, and Ratnagiri has 365 beds, mainly on the western side of Maharashtra.

Although the government is aware of the mental health crisis, recently, a new hospital in Beed with 100 beds has been started, whereas a 365-bed mental hospital is proposed in Jalna and another one is proposed in Kolhapur. Experts, however, say, due to usual government delays these hospitals will take years to complete.

The information reflects the advantage taken by the private psychiatric nursing homeowners who have established their mental health nursing homes in almost all the districts in Maharashtra. Unfortunately, they are too expensive for the poor and only give services to the ones who can afford such nursing homes.



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