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An interview with Dr Sanjib Baruah, GHS provider

GHS talked to Dr Sanjib Baruah, Private Psychiatry Practitioner and valued GHS provider, about his experience of providing healthcare to ADF personnel.

Tell us about yourself and your practice.

“After completing a Diploma in Psychological Medicine and MD in Psychiatry, I worked in India for a number of years. I moved to rural Victoria in 2001 to work as a Consultant Psychiatrist, and then took a position with Queensland Health in Brisbane. In 2012, I started a fulltime position at a private practice in Belmont Hospital and it remains my current practice. I became a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) in 2006 and have been an active member of the Queensland branch of RANZCP and of various other committees including the RANZCP Committee for Exams.”

What are some health conditions you see when treating ADF personnel?

“It is particularly interesting to contribute toward therapeutic change for ADF personnel. I see patients with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD and adjustment disorder. Some ADF personnel initially struggle to accept professional help and a mental health diagnosis. I have witnessed an improved awareness of the importance of treating mental health conditions and it is rewarding when I can support significant improvement in psychological well-being through treatment.

When a patient is experiencing challenges as a result of a mental health condition, often their family and carers are also challenged, and that can manifest as anxiety or depression. It concerns me if they try to put on a ‘brave front’ and I’m aware that treatment can support more than the patient alone.”

In what way can On-base Clinicians best support Off-base healthcare providers like yourself?

“I believe a mutual understanding of each system, private and ADF, is essential for good team work. Collaborative, patient-focused care plans with regular clinical reviews with all stakeholders are beneficial for the recovery of ADF personnel.”

What advice would you give to a healthcare professional who is considering becoming a provider to ADF personnel?

“Providing ADF personnel with early interventions to help them recover and remain part of the ADF, is a most rewarding clinical experience. In my opinion it is preferable to provide personnel with timely interventions so they are not required to transition out for medical reasons.”

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