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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 313-314
Psychiatry as a major subject in undergraduate training: A step in the right direction

1 Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

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Date of Submission24-Dec-2020
Date of Decision27-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance17-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Jun-2021

How to cite this article:
Patra S, Patro BK, Parmar A. Psychiatry as a major subject in undergraduate training: A step in the right direction. Indian J Psychiatry 2021;63:313-4

How to cite this URL:
Patra S, Patro BK, Parmar A. Psychiatry as a major subject in undergraduate training: A step in the right direction. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Nov 29];63:313-4. Available from:


We read with enthusiasm the innovation in the undergraduate medical curriculum reported by Das et al., wherein psychiatry is a major subject during the third professional examination.<sup>[1]</sup> Since psychiatry was never before placed as a major in MBBS professional examinations, the Indian Medical Graduates (IMGs) have shown little or no interest in the discipline. The authors' efforts are commendable and would help improve the quality of psychiatry training of the IMGs. We would like to suggest a few changes in the proposed curriculum to make it more meaningful and responsive to the country's prevailing needs.

Undergraduate psychiatry training should be in tune with the country's mental health scenario. The National Mental Health survey has identified depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and tobacco use disorders as the most prevalent mental disorders.<sup>[2]</sup> The IMG would need the knowledge and skills to independently manage these conditions and reduce the reported treatment gap. Art of history taking, carrying out a mental status examination, making a psychiatric diagnosis, and prescribing psychotropic medicines would be crucial to manage these conditions. Knowledge of the psychotropics included in the essential drug list would ensure optimal utilization and continuous medication supply.

Only a few of the IMGs would eventually decide to choose Psychiatry as their specialization. Integrating psychiatry teaching in the entire MBBS curriculum would enable all future physicians to manage common mental disorders in different clinical settings and make an appropriate referral when needed.<sup>[3]</sup> Furthermore, the IMG would need training in assessing whether a patient is at risk to himself or others, provide supportive management and refer the patient to an appropriate agency. Skills at establishing rapport, providing psychological support in a nonjudgmental manner, and carrying out ventilation sessions would be beneficial. All these efforts would eventually improve the quality of care for mental health conditions and disorders within general medical settings.

Visits to the nearest District Mental Health Program Centre would sensitize the IMG to the existing mental healthcare system. Exposure to differing treatment settings would prepare the IMG for managing patients with psychiatric disorders in real-world settings.<sup>[4]</sup> Furthermore, introducing the concept of person-centric care, emphasizing patient autonomy, and providing mental healthcare in tune with the patients' decision-making capacity would prepare the IMG to deliver services as per the Mental Health Care Act.<sup>[5]</sup>

The innovative step by Das et al. should be deliberated upon by the Indian Psychiatric Society, and suitable recommendations may be made to the National Medical Council to replicate in all medical colleges of the country.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Das A, Krishnan V, Dhiman V, Rohilla JK, Rawat VS, Basu A, et al. Need and learnings from having psychiatry as major subject during medical graduate examination. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:723-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Gautham MS, Gururaj G, Varghese M, Benegal V, Rao GN, Kokane A, et al. The National Mental Health Survey of India (2016): Prevalence, socio-demographic correlates and treatment gap of mental morbidity. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2020;66:361-72.  Back to cited text no. 2
Jacob KS, Kuruvilla A, Zachariah A. Psychiatric curriculum for training physicians. Natl Med J India 2019;32:32-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Thornicroft G, Deb T, Henderson C. Community mental health care worldwide: Current status and further developments. World Psychiatry 2016;15:276-86.  Back to cited text no. 4
Available from: [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Suravi Patra
Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/indianjpsychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_1423_2

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