Recovery on course, but road to freedom still far from sight

The Institute of Mental Health at Erragadda.

The Institute of Mental Health at Erragadda.   | Photo Credit: G. RAMAKRISHNA

IMH awaiting formal nod to discharge 127 recovered inmates

“When will I be able to go out?”

Confined to the dimly lit corridors and a life behind iron grills, most of the 158 inmates at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at Erragadda who have partially or fully recovered do not leave any opportunity to pose the question to doctors, nurses and other staff.

For some of them, freedom has been elusive for the past few months. For at least eight others, it has been over five years. In other words, it has been over 1,825 days that some of them stepped outside the ward, let alone return to their respective houses.

Little hope

With little hope of freedom on the horizon, they find solace by talking to each other about the duration they have spent at the institute and how they plan to get on with their lives after being discharged. Many have prepared a ‘to-do’ list which includes having their favourite dishes.

IMH Superintendent M. Umashankar said after a person is declared fit to be discharged, they write to magistrates requesting orders on whether the person has to be discharged on their accord, or handed over to their families.“We are awaiting replies to 127 cases,” he said.

When The Hindu spoke to a few inmates who have recovered from mental illnesses, they shared plans of how they wish to go about their livelihood.

Forty-three-year-old Padma Rani (name changed) from Warangal said she worked on the farms from dawn to dusk. “I used to grow corn, groundnut and chillies in our field. If I stay here for too long, I might lose that skill. I want to go out and take care of my sister’s child, who is an orphan,” Ms Padma said, adding that medicines are all that she needs.

Another person in the male ward, 40-year-old Subodh (name changed) said he and some others arrange sheets and blankets on patients’ beds, and do other odd jobs to keep themselves distracted. “I worked as a chit fund manager in Vemulawada before getting admitted here. If I go out, I will find the same work or learn some other skills if someone agrees to teach me. I want to live life outside. It has been many months that I had my favourite chicken biryani,” he said.

Others said they keep asking staff and the doctors about when they would be able to go out. “Please do something to let us out,” was their request to this reporter.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 7:42:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/recovery-on-course-but-road-to-freedom-still-far-from-sight/article30907229.ece

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