‘No One to Care for the Mentally ill in Tricity’

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Social Group Laments Indifferent Attitude of the Authorities

NewZNew (Chandigarh) : There is no residential facility for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill in and around the city. Prabhat, a social organisation working for the welfare of the mentally retarded and mentally ill individuals today while expressing concern over the issue lamented the indifferent attitude of the concerned authorities over turning a blind eye to the problem because of which hundreds of families in tricity with such patients are feeling neglected.

Expressing demand for a residential facility and day care centres for the mentally ill, O.P. Asija, president of the society, said there is not a single residential facility for the rehabilitation of mentally ill in and around Chandigarh. “Our worry is who will look after our mentally ill children after our death”, said Asija whose own two children, both sons are mentally ill and his wife is no more.

He was accompanied by Seema Jain, who had recently featured in Satyamev Jayate, a television show hosted by Aamir Khan. Her own 40 year old sister is suffering from mental retardation and mental illness and requires round the clock care, but unfortunately has no place where she can be looked after when Seema has to fulfil her other commitments.

Asija while talking to the media persons said mentally ill patients require long term treatment extending to many years and as a per a news report which appeared some years back, tricity has 66000 patients suffering from various mental diseases, out of which more than 6000 persons in Chandigarh were schizophrenic, who require intensive indoor treatment and hospitalisation. He added present figures must be higher.

He said mental illness is a major issue in tricity which lacks residential facility even for chronically mentally ill patients. Asija added as per an RTI information the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had informed there are 65 million mentally ill patients in the country and it was after the Erawadi (Tamil Nadu) incident in 2001 in which 22 mentally sick patients were chained and burnt alive, the Apex Court had issued directions to respective state governments to set up dedicated mental health institutes. He said certain mentally ill individuals suffering from depression etc can be gainfully employed for three to four hours every day.

Seema Jain, who also happens to be the general secretary of Prabhat said there is no respite home, residential facility or day care centre for the mentally ill which was unfortunate. She shared her own experience of how she had to face the mood swings of her sister who at times gets violent. “Only if the policy makers could come and see what we go through at every moment of our lives, they will realise the need for such facility for the unfortunate mentally ill patients of the tricity”, she regretted.