With conflict in Jammu and Kashmir taking a toll on the people, British filmmaker, author and therapist Justine Hardy talks of her efforts to help the distressed people of the Valley.
In the Valley of Mist you wrote about the psychiatric wards in Kashmir.
Yes. Senior psychiatrists at The Government Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Mushtaq Margoob and Dr. Arshad Hussain who feature in the book, believe that up to 90 per cent of the Valley's population of around six million has been affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Most patients get about two minutes with a doctor or psychiatrist in a crowded, noisy and chaotic outpatients' department setting. During a three-hour clinic, a psychiatrist usually sees between 150 and 200 patients. They barely have time to look at a patient's earlier case notes, and only have time to change existing dosages or recommend a different medication.
The Government of India has a good budget to tackle mental health issues in the state and, with the input of various NGOs, this means that there are now more treatments available: counselling, occupational therapy, even music therapy, meditation and multi-behavioural therapy. But it's not easy to access these either due to the numbers of patients or because it's hard to get to Srinagar.