“A home can be expected within a month”
A sharp increase in the number of mentally ill persons in Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai in the recent past has underlined the need for creating a home to take care of these persons and a mechanism to check the incidence of such desertion by their relatives.
The mentally disturbed, who can be seen wandering on roads, sitting on garbage bins searching for food, sleeping on narrow pavements on a busy road like Thiruvananthapuram High Road, are mostly abandoned either by their parents or relatives.
The most shocking fact is the sexual abuse of mentally deranged women by anti-social elements, particularly drunkards, who in small groups, target this highly vulnerable section during nights.
When Madurai witnessed such distressing incidents, a home was established there following a doctor's initiative, whose idea roped in Madurai Corporation administration in this noble cause to make the attempt a success.
Similarly, Fr. Johnson, the then director of ‘Saranaalayam', being run by the Roman Catholic missionaries for orphan children and destitute women in Tirunelveli Junction, made an earnest attempt two years ago to start a home for the mentally ill after his survey revealed that the twin towns alone had 180 abandoned psychologically ill persons.
However, he could not identify qualified nurses to deal with such persons so that the effort never fructified.
“We don't have any government home beyond Chennai (a home at Kilpauk) though the State has quite a huge number of mentally ill persons. The State Government should think of starting a home for these people in every district and it should be established along with government hospital in a separate campus so that extending medical assistance to them will become easy. We should not forget that most of the mentally ill cases can be treated through administering proper medicines and the government should create an awareness among the public that this disorder can be set right,” says Fr. Johnson.
District Differently-Abled Rehabilitation Officer T. Manohar told ‘The Hindu' that a proposal to establish a home for the abandoned mentally deranged persons was very much on the cards and a meeting in this connection would be held on January 27 and 28.
“The ‘Meetpu Thittam' (salvage programme), to be executed with the support of Indian Red Cross Society's Tirunelveli Chapter, would involve the police and the judiciary to make the rescue and their rehabilitation a success. You can expect the creation of a home for these deserted people within a month,” he said.