29 July 2010
By Bhagyashree Kulthe
Why is the situation in the hospital so grim?
Mental hospitals are like dumping grounds. Neither the government nor society cares what is happening behind the four walls of a mental hospital. The doctor–patient ratio is abysmally poor, as one doctor or psychiatrist deals with hundreds of patients. Moreover, there is a staff crunch, lack of proper facilities and lack of advanced treatment facilities in these hospitals. How can limited staff handle so many patients? Some patients need special attention. These hospitals
have become islands. Even the families of most of the patients are not concerned. What can be done to improve the situation in mental hospitals? We have four mental hospitals in the state, which are quite big. People from several districts are being treated in these.
I feel small hospitals must be set up in various places, including rural areas. This will reduce the pressure on existing hospitals. Small hospitals are easy to manage and the staff will be able to manage the patients better. But there is no one even to ponder over the problems of mental hospitals and patients.
How can the patients be better managed?
There must be vocational programmes for mental patients, like we have for undertrials and convicts. There is no effort to use them productively. If the prisoners can work and produce useful things, why can’t that be tried in mental hospitals? With the exception of some serious patients, others can surely be engaged and taught various activities.
We need to change the attitude of society towards mental patients and treat them like human beings.
Patients’ families need to be sensitised. While we have experimented to improve the situation in prisons, we are not ready to try out measures to make things better in mental hospitals. The staff too needs to be motivated and encouraged.