Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Banyan, an NGO working for the welfare of mentally-ill women, on Friday pulled out of the Dial 100 Mental Health Helpline services after a confrontation with staff at the Institute of Mental Health.

On Friday afternoon, warders of the IMH gathered outside the office of the director where a meeting between The Banyan’s representatives and the hospital authorities was taking place. They raised slogans against the NGO’s social workers helping out at the IMH and turned aggressive when the representatives came outside. It was with the intervention of the IMH director that the NGOs representatives could leave the spot.

The Banyan has been working in the IMH for the last four years, as per a memorandum of understanding between the organisation, the Commissioner of Police and the Hospital.

“There were hurdles that The Banyan had to face right from the start,” Managing Trustee Vandana Gopikumar told IMH director R. Satianathan in a letter.

The letter further explained The Banyan’s intentions to suspend its services through the Dial 100 programme until positive measures are taken by the IMH and the Health Department.

Project manager P.L. Porkodi said that as a mark of protest, the organisation would also withdraw from its membership of the Visitor’s Committee of the IMH. .

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