We have already looked at screening of police personnel for mental health problems, and also screening of teenagers for alcohol and drug abuse. Here we specifically examine the feasibility of regularly screening the 8600 PMPL staff and Pune bus drivers for mental health problems.
Mental illness in bus drivers
- Mental health problems are higher for bus drivers who suffer from back pain, are dissatisfied with their jobs or undertake long-distance driving. This is more so for employees who have worked for >10 years. (Issever et al 2002)
- Aggressive bus drivers have more anxiety, hostility, and anger. They display competitiveness when driving aggressively, and display anger at slow drivers and traffic obstructions (Galovski 2002). Aggressive drivers with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) endorse more assaultiveness and resentment. They display more impatience, hostility and have an angry temperament.
- Bus drivers have higher hospital admissions with diagnoses of mood reactions, paranoia and non-specific psychoses. (Ugesker 1989)
Ideal mental health screen
- Easy to administer
- it is to be conducted regularly without consuming excessive time
- Culturally acceptable
- anything stigmatising will be shunned
- picks up potentially vulnerable persons
- excludes those who do not have mental health problems
- Easy to interpret
- results should be available immediately
Mental health checklists and screening instrumentsThere are already valid (test identifies persons mental illness) and reliable (results remain the same when administered by different testers and on re-testing) checklists for mental health screening. Two mental health screening instruments that satisfy many of the ideal criteria are the COOP/WONCA charts and the WHO-5 questionnaire. Both have high diagnostic accuracy for mental disorders. Specificity, sensitivity and positive predictive values range from 0.85 to 0.87 (Anything more than 0.7 is good).
COOP/WONCAThe COOP/WONCA measures six core aspects of functional status: physical fitness, feelings, daily activities, social activities, change in health and overall health through six charts. The charts have been successfully used in illiterate populations, and have guidelines for translation where required. The average time for completion is less than five minutes. One-time assessment with the COOP/WONCA Charts is a valid and feasible option for screening for mental disorders at the primary care level.
WHO-5The WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) is a set of 5 questions that can be used when six charts are too much.
A mental health check is most acceptable as part of the regular or annual ‘health check’. Those who score above the cut-off are taken up for detailed assessment by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. No additional man-power is required. The process will not cost in crores. Our roads will be safer.
We need to use available checklists and screening tests for early detection of mental illness in Pune’s bus drivers.References
- Galovski T, Blanchard EB. Psychological characteristics of aggressive drivers with and without intermittent explosive disorder. Behav Res Ther. 2002 Oct;40(10):1157-68.
- Issever H, Onen L, Sabuncu HH, Altunkaynak O. Personality characteristics, psychological symptoms and anxiety levels of drivers in charge of urban transportation in Istanbul. Occup Med (Lond). 2002 Sep;52(6):297-303.
- Joao Mazzoncini de Azevedo-Marques, MD, PhD1 and Antonio Waldo Zuardi, MD, PhD. COOP/WONCA Charts as a Screen for Mental Disorders in Primary Care. Annals of Family Medicine 9:359-365 (2011) doi: 10.1370/afm.1267
- C. van Weel, C. König - Zahn, F.W.M.M. Touw - Otten, N.P. Van Duijn, B. Meyboom - de Jong. Measuring functional status with the COOP/WONCA charts: a manual. Northern Centre of Health Care Research 1990. ISBN 90 72156 33 1
- WHO. WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) Accessed 17-Feb-2011
- Ugeskr Laeger. Psychiatric admissions among city bus drivers. A prospective study. Ugeskr Laeger. 1989 Jan 30;151(5):302-5.