Chennai

2 IMH patients make a home of their own

Expert stresses need to integrate patients into community

In a first for the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), two of its residents who recovered with treatment have moved into a rented house in the city. The duo is among a handful of inmates who are employed, and will now begin a new journey in their lives outside the IMH campus.

It does not stop with treatment and recovery for persons with mental illnesses.

Psychosocial rehabilitation and integration into the community are equally or more important.

IMH, in the last several years, has reunited many of its patients with their families, but this is the first time that two of its inmates are making a home of their own and becoming independent.

Sathish* and Praveen* are among 10 residents of IMH who are currently employed. One of them works at the Directorate of Medial and Rural Health Services, while the other is engaged as a security guard, P. Poorna Chandrika, director of IMH, said. On Saturday, a group of doctors and staff of IMH visited their home.

“Some of the inmates who are employed face hardships while explaining that they live in IMH. The government’s plan to establish a half-way home will take two years for completion. Some of these residents showed interest in going out of the campus. With the help of an NGO (Better Chances) engaged in art therapy with our patients, they have found a home to rent and have moved out of the campus,” she said.

Keeping an eye

The duo will share the rent from their salaries every month, she said, adding: “They will have to report to IMH once a week. Our social workers will visit the house regularly, and our staff, who reside close by, will also drop in. The houseowner was understanding, and we hope that more persons come forward to provide houses for persons who have had mental illnesses and have improved with treatment.”

Porkodi Palaniappan, founder, Better Chances, said it was not just about equipping persons with mental illnesses to move into the community, but also enabling the community to accept and include them without discrimination.

“Somehow, building inclusive communities within urban settings has always been a challenge, but we have been breaking barriers with our work in such communities. We have been educating the community, that they cannot discriminate,” she added.

She pooled in funds with support from her batchmates of CSI Bain Matriculation Higher Secondary School to pay the advance amount and provide household essentials for the duo.

*Names have been changed to protect their identity

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:18:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/2-imh-patients-make-a-home-of-their-own/article30772926.ece

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