A struggle

It is painful to read about families ‘disowning’ their loved ones afflicted with mental illness despite improvements in psychotic symptoms (“Plan to integrate long-stay patients in mental hospitals”, August 25). At the same time, one cannot ignore what these families must be undergoing. In many instances, it has become next to impossible for families to take care of family members with cognitive impairments. This includes those with afflicted with schizophrenia and dementia.

The fast pace of life today makes demands on the time and energy of not only white collar but also blue collar workers. If there are care-givers, in the form of a few centres run by non-governmental organisations, the cost of looking after such a patient often turns out to be an expensive proposition. In addition, if a family decides to employ a trained care-giver, it is no exaggeration to say that the fee quoted by the agency concerned is much higher than even the salary of a doctor employed in a primary health centre. In a society where the percentage of those who are aged is growing, and where various forms of mental disorders are increasing, there is an urgent need to develop and implement cost-effective policies. There are a number of families that struggle to make both ends meet and are unable to look after mentally ill members in a safe and dignified manner. They deserve attention too.

R.T. Rajasekaran,


In a country where a significant percentage of the population has a mental disorder, access to quality mental health care remains a big challenge.

Factors such as social stigma associated with mental illness, the high costs of health care and a lack of awareness about effective medical therapy and cures have virtually closed the door on people with mental illnesses. Therefore, with the move to include mental illnesses in insurance policies, one can hope for progressive change on the ground. It is time that the Centre and States also treat the issue of a shortage of mental health professionals with the seriousness it truly deserves.

M. Jeyaram,

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:22:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/a-struggle/article24786181.ece

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