- Published: 18 October 2021
The theme for the World Mental Health Day 2021: 'mental health in an unequal world' is quite relevant in the local context wherein the shortcomings are quite glaring, according to social workers involved in running homes for the mentally ill.
While the number of people susceptible to mental illness has witnessed a rise during COVID-19 pandemic period, the services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted, they point out.
Against the backdrop of commitments made by governments at the World Health Assembly in May 2021 to scale up quality mental health services at all levels, the local administration must ideally find ways to incorporate care for the mentally ill in the Smart City Project, T.K.S. Senthil Kumar, Founder of Anbalayam Home for Mentally Ill, said.
The support system for the mentally ill patients is far from adequate. Though there are many coming forward to meet the cost of food expenses for the mentally ill, there are no places where they could be given a bath. The problem is that 108 ambulances have limitations in admitting mentally ill patients with physical injuries to the hospital. The staff of 108 ambulance service insist on an attendant, which is impractical. Also there must be a special ward in government hospitals to provide psychatric care and attention for physical injuries simultaneously with police protection to ensure that the treatment course is completed. For, the mentally ill patients are prone to getting away, Mr. Senthil Kumar explained.
According to psychiatrists, there must be exclusive parks for mentally ill patients with facilities for food, shelter and clothing. Not all mentally ill patients could be sheltered in closed confines for long. The wandering nature of mentally ill patients must not be viewed as unusual. Such parks would be of immense utility for integrated care, in keeping with the theme of the World Mental Health Day, they say.
In a letter to the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and School Education Minister Ambil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Neurologist and former Vice-Principal of KAPV Government Medical College M.A. Aleem requested for inclusion of a chapter on Mental Health in the science books at higher secondary level. This is a way to prepare future generations to handle mentally ill patients with care, Dr. Aleem said.
Quelle/Source: The Hindu, 10.10.2021