Focus at mental hospitals shifts to day care

At the Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada,300 patients who have battled depression and paranoia seem to have no hope of returning home,for reasons like relatives not taking them back.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published:October 10, 2011 1:32 am

At the Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada,300 patients who have battled depression and paranoia seem to have no hope of returning home,for reasons like relatives not taking them back. The hospital has become their permanent address,forcing the authorities to focus on their rehabilitation on the hospital premises by setting up a Day Care Centre. This and several other reasons have made day care centres more important than ever before.

Dr Vilas Bhailume,medical superintendent at the hospital that accommodates 1,700 patients on the 110-acre campus,said that on an average at least 100 patients seek treatment at their out-patient department daily. The hospital gets patients from 12 districts and is awaiting a grant from the government to rehabilitate patients at its Day Care Centre. “We have demanded Rs 2 crore to upgrade facilities. The government is also considering setting up an academic institution.”

This year,the World Mental Health Day (October 10) theme is “Investing in mental health.” The government has provided a grant of Rs 1 crore to the Thane’s Mental Hospital. Medical superintendent Dr Sanjay Kumawat said that for the first time,a pick and drop facility will be provided for patients – psychotic-neurotic,those with organic brain damage or those addicted to substance abuse – to participate in activities at the Day Care Centre. The centre is being set up outside the hospital so that the patients can participate in a variety of activities in a non-clinical atmosphere.

Even as government institutions are focusing on rehabilitation of patients,in the private sector,psychiatrists are worried about increasing number of people with stress-related ailments that eventually lead to depression. Dr Rohan Jahagirdar,consultant psychiatrist at Poona Hospital and director of Introspectrum Psychological Services,said that demands of a new lifestyle have led to anxiety and stress-related problems.

According to WHO’s latest report,schizophrenia,depression,epilepsy,dementia,alcohol dependence and other mental,neurological and substance-use (MNS) disorders constitute 13 per cent of the global burden of disease,surpassing both cardiovascular disease and cancer. Depression is the third leading contributor to the global disease burden,and alcohol and drugs account for more than 5 per cent. It has been estimated that 1.5 million people will commit suicide by 2020 and 15 to 30 million will attempt killing themselves. Between six and seven percent of India ‘s population suffers from common mental disorders and one to two percent from severe mental disorders.

As part of creating awareness exhibitions will be held at bus stations,railway stations and the district court,said Bhailume. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to deal with mental disorders,said Kumawat who feels day care centres with vocational activities will help such people maintain their dignity.

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