Sheltering mentally-challenged

Staff Reporter

NALGONDA: They wandered aimlessly on the National Highway-9 facing imminent danger to their lives from the speeding vehicles until they landed in a destitute home set up by a compassionate youth Gattu Shankar exclusively for the mentally-ill persons at Chowtuppal in the district recently.

As many as 30 mentally destitute including six women from far off places in Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have found a home away from their homes at Amma Nanna Anadhashramam started by Shankar, a petty businessman, in Chowtuppal few months ago.

The death of his elder brother who was run over by a speeding vehicle while moving in mentally unsound condition on the NH-9 several years ago has prompted Shankar to open a home for the mentally ill destitutes.

Shankar along with his associates picked up the mentally ill persons from Narketpally, Chowtuppal, Chityal and other mandals alongside the NH-9 and shifted them to the home in an autorickshaw.

Not neglected

“The mentally ill persons are the most neglected and vulnerable section of the society,” deplored Shankar. I noticed several mentally ill persons roaming on the roadside dangerously on the highway, recalled Shankar, who worked in a bus service from Narketpally to Mumbai in the past.

They were given bath, food and clothes at our home to help them recover from distress, Shankar said adding that the inmates were examined by the doctors at the local hospital for physical ailments if any.

The inmates are engaged in games and group singing activities at the home. One of the inmates, who identified himself as Satya Bhanu Sahu, 32, of Ganjam district in Orissa, had even resumed his cursive writing skills in English at the home.

“There is a marked improvement in their behaviour as they have started the daily life activities - eating, speaking and sleeping which they were deprived of until recently. I am planning to approach psychiatrists to ensure proper treatment ,” he said.