Andhra Pradesh

Fight stigma associated with mental illness: Ajeya Kallam

B. Ramakrishnam Raju, Ajeya Kallam, Principal Adviser to the Chief Minister, and others at the launch of Mano Bandhu in Vijayawada on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: GIRI KVS

Discussion on issues of mental illness has been a taboo in our society and it is important to reach out to the wandering mentally ill people we come across on roads and streets, and provide them access to mental care facilities with the help of State functionaries, said Ajeya Kallam, Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister.

Speaking after launching ‘Mano Bandhu’, a campaign to rehabilitate the wandering mentally ill, Mr. Kallam said there was a need to increase the number of facilities to cater to the needs of the mentally ill people. He also complimented the organisers for taking up the cause of people who are voiceless, neglected and discriminated against.

Additional DGP A. Ravi Shankar Ayyanar said it was important to recognise that mental illness could be cured and people suffering from it could be brought to the mainstream by providing the right mental health facilities and medication. “We should strive to reach out to all the wandering mentally ill people across the State, give them medical treatment and enable them to lead a dignified life,” he said, informing that the Department of Police had taken similar initiatives in the past for the homeless and destitute kids to ensure their re-union with their family members.

Vijayawada city Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu raised concern over increasing substance use by teenagers and said that if left unchecked in the early stage, it could lead to mental illness and addiction. He said parents should be vigilant and ensure proper treatment to their children at early stages.

More facilities needed

Psychiatrist Indla Ramasubba Reddy said the State was in need of more facilities for treatment of mental illness as there was only one mental hospital in Visakhapatnam. “A similar facility is coming up at Kadapa but we need more such hospitals in other parts of the State,” he said.

Informing that the Mental Health Care Act 2017 deals extensively with issues of wandering mentally ill people, he said its provisions should be publicised extensively among the police and the common public.

Founder convener of ‘Mano Bandhu’ Bhupatiraju Rama Krishna Raju said awareness activities would be organised to sensitise the public and invoke a sense of social responsibility towards the mentally ill people.

Recipients of Ramon Magsaysay Award Sandeep Pandey, Raja Singh and Bharat Wadwani and social activist Medha Patkar sent their solidarity messages.

Activists from across the State, representatives of Shradda Foundation in Maharashtra and Annam Foundation in Telangana participated in the meeting.


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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 8:49:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/fight-stigma-associated-with-mental-illness-ajeya-kallam/article37181981.ece

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