Indian Army deputes psychiatrists to combat stress among troops

December 30th, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) The Indian Army has stationed psychiatrists close to its troops in forward areas to combat stress that has driven many soldiers to kill themselves or fellow soldiers, an official said Tuesday.“Sixty psychiatrists have been trained and are working in close coordination with the troops. If there are any signs of stress, this will immediately be brought to the commanding officer’s notice,” Director General Medical Sciences Lt. Gen. N.K. Parmar said.

He was talking to reporters ahead of the 245th anniversary of the Army Medical Corps.

The army is also in the process of recruiting more psychiatrists and counsellors.

“It (deputing of counsellors) is a proactive step taken so that the situation (due to stress) does not deteriorate further,” Parmar added.

In October, a parliamentary panel had said the military establishment was not taking reports of suicides and fratricides seriously enough. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, in its 31st report on “Stress management in the armed forces”, said 635 suicides by soldiers were reported between 2003 and 2007.

In addition, 67 fratricidal killings had occurred, the report said.

The “alarming trend of suicides and fratricidal killings in the armed forces”, the committee said, “is attributable to increased stress environment leading to psychological imbalance in the soldiers”.

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