The need for ensuring acceptance and recognition for schizophrenia patients in society was stressed at a seminar that concluded at Vazhavatta in the district on Friday.
The programme was organised jointly by the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR), Health Department and Jyothi Nivas charitable society (JNCS) in connection with World Schizophrenia Day .
Delivering the keynote address on the occasion, Jostin Francis, consultant Psychiatrist, General Hospital here, said that more than 3.5 lakh people in the State suffered from schizophrenia.
Modern society was keen on addressing physical illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, but it was yet to give such significance for psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, Dr. Justin said.
‘Those patients should be treated as any other patients who suffer from physical illness. Hence a core change should take place in society’s attitude to mentally unstable persons, including those suffering from schizophrenia, Dr. Jostin said.
Lack of awareness and magico-religious practices in the society became the biggest hurdle in treating patients,” Dr. Jostin said.
Social stigma was another threat as the society often watches persons recovered from mental disorders with suspicion, he said, adding such an attitude should change.
Scientific rehabilitation has also played a crucial role in recovering from the disease, he said.
“Society has a crucial role to play in providing a fresh lease of life to schizophrenia patients, he added.
Concerted effort by the government, physicians, and society was the need of the hour for rehabilitation of the marginalised sections, he said.
C.K.Saseendran, MLA, inaugurated the programme. Dr. V.J. Sebastian, president, JNCS, presided. K.P. Sunitha, sub Judge, Wayanad; Dr.V.K.Radhakrishnan, South Asia president, WAPR; Pavithran Thaikkandy, Social Justice officer, Wayanad; Timble Magi, Deputy director of Panchayats, Wayanad, and P.A. Johny, Director JNCS handled sessions on related topics, sources said.