Psychiatrist attributes violent behaviour to poor mental health among Malayalis

Increasing incidents of parental violence may be a pointer towards falling tolerance levels, short-fused parents and unhealthy competition gripping Malayali society.

Noted psychiatrist S.D. Singh observed that violent behaviour was increasingly becoming common in Malayali society and attributed it predominantly to poor mental health.

“Deteriorating mental health among the Kerala population is now all too visible. When it comes to parenting, the accompanying aggression is directed towards children for the simple reason that they have the least capacity to resist it,” Mr. Singh said.

He, however, felt the sudden spurt in parental violence was not a new phenomenon. It has always been there. Just that it wasn’t widely reported as it is being done now. More disclosures are made now with the advent of Juvenile Justice Act.

The wider acceptance among the parents of the commercialised education system also had its adverse effect on the upbringing of children. Even inconsequential incidents in the school become a topic of discussion at home that often end up in violence towards children, Mr. Singh said.

Falling moral standards in society has led to a surge in unhealthy and insatiable sexual instincts. Children fall victims here since they are easily accessible to the adults to fulfil their sexual pleasures.

Mr. Singh observed that the early diagnosis and proper treatment of mental illness suffers in the absence of mandatory regulations in this regard. The Mental Health Act, he felt, has been largely ineffective.

Citing the incident in Kottayam where a five-year-old was thrown out by a person from the first floor of a hospital, Mr. Singh said it was a clear case of mental illness leading to crime. “Such incidents will be assessed at a law-and-order level and a criminal case will be registered against the accused. An organised set-up at the government level to study the mental status of the person concerned and to take corrective measures is missing,” he said.

Mr. Singh said that suppression, oppression, and violent behaviour exist to a certain extent among school faculty members. The Juvenile Welfare Board should make it a point to visit schools to address this problem.

He recollected an experience during the course of his interaction with the principal of a reputed school in the city in connection with a survey on children’s right more than a decade ago. “The principal felt that children have no right except for the rights he allowed them. It was very clear that this otherwise sophisticated person had no idea about the proper upbringing of children or how to deal with them,” Mr. Singh said.

More In: Kochi