Indian Psychiatric Society
Western Zonal Branch
Discussion Forum


Dr. Laxmikant Rathi
President, IPS-WZ (2020-21)

IPS President Dr. Dalal & Hon. Secretary Dr. T. S. S. Rao, All the past presidents of our organization titled as “Indian Psychiatric Society Western Zone” & all the esteemed members of our organization from Maharashtra, Gujarat & Goa. A very good evening to all of you.

Today is very auspicious day, the birth anniversary of Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi. So I pay tribute to him who made our country free. I consider myself lucky to be installed on such auspicious day and his birth place also comes in our zone and it is also a matter of pride for all of us.

I feel everything should have some purpose and same is true with presidential address also. Since last many days I was thinking about what I should speak in my Presidential address. As I am a certified senior faculty of Lions Club International for whole Asia and go as a faculty at various places for orations & speeches, so I have many topics ready with audio-visuals etc on Effective leadership, Communication skills, Time management, Team building & so on which are useful to our organization and colleagues too and can be easily done. But I decided to have some “Mann Ki Baat” with you on this occasion because I feel that we are all Doctors of “Mind” which is called “Mann” in Hindi, our National language.

In our body there is only one such organ which is not seen by anybody till date, and no one knows its shape or size. Still none of us can say that its not with us and that is Mann and I think we all treat this Mann also known as Mind. Of course all this is always linked with Brain too which is a structural organ.

If I go back in “Flashback” when I entered Mumbai after graduating from Nagpur in 1979; then my aim was to become a postgraduate in Paediatrics or Medicine and psychiatry was nowhere in my mind. But I was determined to become postgraduate. At that time the rules were different. There were no competitive exams and students passed from Bombay University were preferred & same was at Nagpur University too. So as an outsider I did not get any house job or registration in Paediatrics or Medicine. But I got registration in DPM for which I had applied and that gave something in hand in order to stay in Mumbai. After getting registration I got a house job in Cooper Hospital under Dr. Vihang Vahia Sir. So he is my first teacher in Psychiatry. I still remember those Golden days & his Humour sense and we used to go to KEM hospital also mostly on Tuesdays to attend OPD day of Dr. Doongaji who was my guide for DPM. We used to prepare very hard when we had to present a case to him because presenting a case to him used to be a Mind Blowing experience. Then we used to go to coffee house with Dr. Asit Seth most of the times.

By this time I had developed a deep interest in the field of Psychiatry and I decided to become a Psychiatrist only. Today I feel proud as well as fortunate that I Became Psychiatrist. My teacher for MD was Dr. Jayant Apte Sir. I had worked with Dr. V. N. Bagadia sir for few months in Bombay Hospital too.

When I was going back to my city Amravati to start practice in 1982 I asked Bagadia sir to give me few tips to be successful and how to increase awareness of Psychiatry in a small town of about 2 lacs population at that time. He told me “Upgrade Psychiatry” & you will be upgraded automatically. I am following these words to the best of my capacity and I am thankful to all these teachers who made me what I am today. Still these faces are reflecting in front of my eyes when I am talking about them. Such was the relationship of teacher & students at that time. I have no hesitation in saying that such talented & committed teachers are not very common now & same is true probably about the students discipline also.

I feel that as an organization we should concentrate on this field also that how the teaching can be more effective. I think that one way to do it is to start Honorary Posting of Teachers again in the medical colleges as before. For example I myself am not attached to any Medical college. Though I had a chance but I was totally interested in Private Practice only at that time. But today I have a feeling that I should teach students as well as a desire to become examiner too. I think there may be others too & as an organization some thought should be given to implement this.

Now let’s go back to the words “Up-grade Psychiatry”. I think that these words are still relevant today also because there are still so many misconceptions about our field. Whether it is scientific or not, whether mind exists or not & so on. What is happening because we are treating only the tip of iceberg. A part of the iceberg is treated by our colleagues from other specialties and many more remain untreated. As we all know most of other faculty members like Physicians, cardiologists, Neurophysicians & even Neurosurgeons write some amount of Anxiolytics, Antidepressants or even Antipsychotic drugs without knowing much about these molecules. It is commonly said, if we write it’s sleeping pill & if they write it’s for tension. Awareness has increased a lot in last many years but I feel there is enough scope to increase it.

If the awareness about Psychiatry & psychological health is not much today, who is responsible for that? I think we, ourselves or our organizations too. We all & specially the young budding psychiatrists must work on it continuously and we can all do it collectively as so many modes of communications are available today, electronic media, print media, etc. Some of us are already doing that but effort is required from each corner of the country & then & then only the awareness will reach to every corner of the country.

Sometimes I feel that we as an organization do not tackle or raise the issue at proper time whether it is Law making or any other thing & then we debate on it once it is passed. I feel whenever any legislation is in process we as an organization should remain in an alert mode and should raise the issues at all levels right from local branches to our highest branch too & then only as an organization we will be making some impact for the benefit of our members who are associated with us as well as the society.

Personally I have a great objection on the words titled as “Mental Health”. I feel that that should not be used at all & instead of that “Psychological Health” are the words which should be used. Our bills, etc should be titled as “Psychological Health Bill” instead of Mental Health Bill. But we have become so accustomed to it that we have forgotten some things. For example, when we are given degrees of DPM or MD, they were titled as Diploma or Masters Degree in Psychological Health & not the Mental Health & still it is so. So I feel that if in future any laws are to made our organizations at topmost level should make recommendations accordingly and should try to best of their capacity & resources in order to get them implemented. Until the word “Mental” is not removed the word Paagal (Mad) won’t go. Till the time the social stigma is not removed the people at large will not talk about their psychological illnesses as they do about their other physical illnesses. I got my Bye-pass done, there were four blockages, I got 5 stents. We see such things posted on Face-book also but never any things about depression. Why? The reason is social stigma. Till the time people start talking about it there won’t be any mouth to mouth publicity and the awareness won’t increase. So we should teach people to talk about their psychological health issues & that will help in many ways especially in Prevention of Suicides.

Suicide is also major issue now- a- days & as an organization should tackle that. The problem is causing very much concern in farmers, students, actors and so many people in different fields. Behind every suicide there is a psychological illness and if diagnosed and treated in time we can save the person’s life. Today we also cannot talk about the diseases of the patients openly as per the laws of Confidentiality & so with the patients also as they do not discuss or talk about it, rather try to hide them from the friends and relatives.

I feel in order to achieve that one thing we should be doing is to separate the Neurotic illnesses from Psychotic illnesses including their legality too. All types of Neurosis should be termed as Stress Related Disorders the laws, so called Mental Health Bills should not be applied to them and they should be treated at par with other physical diseases. Why Advanced Directives & so many formalities of Admission & Discharge should be required for Neurotic patients. But today everything is put in one frame and that is he has become mad. I feel it should not happen. Even when we go in the Court of Law for evidence, they only want to know whether he is mad or not & that’s the only perception they have about psychological health. If we try to explain them, they don’t understand as there is no such provision in the law according to them. I also feel that people at large should be educated about the Neuro-chemical imbalance behind the psychiatric disorders which will enable them to think more scientifically.

As an organization we should also object to the wrong things shown in either film industry or any other electronic platforms; things like methodology of giving ECTs, all the coloured lights glow and the patient is shown in such agony. I myself still remember it given in one movie to great star Amitabh Bachchan too. It gives rise to great impact in society& remembered by them also for years together. As such, people are scared about ECTs and such picturization increases their fear more. I feel that on many such occasions we don’t raise objection because we feel that “Nothing happens”. I personally feel whether things change or not let the time decide, we must raise the objection. We have a very good example recently when our Past president Dr. Vaishnav & his team raised objection over the title of the movie “Mental Hai Kya” & then it was changed to “Judgemental Hai Kya”

“Drug Addiction” is another field where our organization should work & local branches should take up this issue & increase the awareness as well as taking part in rehabilitating them at large scale. We are already doing this but needs more momentum. As we have noticed in last few days that how the problem has spread all over right from higher societies to lower class also, rich as well as poor. You can understand the gravity of the problem that in small as well as big cities these substances are available on “Paan Thela”. This was initially the problem of western countries but now it is well spread in our country too.

I also feel that our organization should have some PR funds which could be utilized for increasing awareness by various methods of communication now, maybe through hoardings, banners, posters at important public places including Railway stations, even air ports for example, “Say No To Drugs” & the name of the society below. We can approach the corporators also who have to spend 2% as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Many of us especially in city areas have good contacts with influential people & industrialists. These can be utilized for a social cause as other NGOs also do. This will also uplift the image of the organization as well. It is our moral duty to save our next generation from the menace of Drug Addiction.

A topic related closely to drug addiction is suicide though there are various other reasons also. It is very seriously not taken up by the society still. Most of the times others feel that he or she just talks about suicide but won’t commit it. This mindset is to be changed. Similarly I feel that our laws also need to be changed & we should represent for that. In most of Western countries a psychiatric consultation is must after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. I think the same approach should be demanded in our country also.

It is my earnest request to young psychiatrists that our cake is getting cut by many other specialties in almost all fields. In child psychiatry also the certification power for Neurodevelopmental disorders is given to Paediatricians & Neurophysicians but not psychiatrists, same as in Dyslexia. Hystericals are getting admitted in ICUs sometimes. Amitriptyline 10 mg is still the favourite drug of many super specialists. That “Butterfly” Brand you can still see in many prescriptions of Non-psychiatrists. So we all together have to take a alarming note of this situation & take necessary steps to control that.

I remember that there was an “Anti-psychiatry Movement” when I was doing Post-graduation and I had an Essay question on that during my PG examination. I feel that Anti-psychiatry movement is still going on in one or other form and we have to resist that. Imagine the situation if a law is made that all the psychological patients are to be treated by psychiatrists only & nobody else to be allowed to prescribe any neurotropic or psychotropic drugs. Then every psychiatrist will have huge line up in front of his or her clinic.

In brief, we have to reach out to the people at greater momentum. We are doing that at various platforms but only a few of us. If each of us does it in electronic and print media the things will change and will also change the perception of psychological diseases at par with any other physical disease & that should be our ultimate goal I feel.

As the head of the organization I would try to implement these things whenever and wherever the necessity is there in our zone and request you also to come forward for the same. I also feel that as an organization we should stand firmly behind our esteemed member in any kind of crisis, especially legal problems if his or her stand is correct as such incidences are increasing day by day.

One thing which I will be doing definitely in my regime is to make our meetings time bound & focussed whether executive or AGBM. If they are focussed then they will be of shorter duration yet more productive. Then the new people especially young generation will also get involved and will come forward to hold various positions in our organization. Sometimes we discuss the issue round and round & then take the same decision where we have started. This is the need of the hour to reform ourselves in all types of organization & ours is no exception. This may help us not to adjourn our AGBM most of the times as it is happening now.

I will also be following the constitution of our organization strictly on all fronts. I have seen that at many times it is used or misused in the name of traditions by few. I feel that it should not happen. Constitution is soul of any organization & barring the very exceptional circumstances like this COVID pandemic it should be followed strictly 24X7 into 365 days. I request specially to all our EC members to go through it definitely and make yourselves acquainted with it whenever you are part of decision making process. It does not require your much time but only willpower.

Lastly I would like to tell you all that I will not leave any stone unturned to uplift the image of our organization specially giving it a social face & increasing awareness about psychiatry as well as “UP-grade Psychiatry” concept given to me by my Guru. I will be just a phone call away from you in any moment of crisis and help you need. I will take help of all the past presidents who have served this organization to the best of their capacity. I will also invite the feedbacks & inputs from all the esteemed members of the organization.

Lastly I am thankful to you all for making me President of this Prestigious Organization & sparing your valuable time for listening to my thoughts.

Thank You Very much.

Home About Us Membership News Awards Obituary Resources Photos Branches Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Indian Psychiatric Society, Western Zonal Branch
Website designed by & Powered By Softsense