New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) With an increase in people suffering from schizophrenia in India and ignorance of their families about their medical condition, health experts have urged the government to build more and more halfway homes for such patients.
They say the situation in India is such that there is no proper care homes for schizophrenia patients abandoned by their family members.
In most situations, mentally ill people become indistinguishable from thousands of beggars in the streets or migrant workers sleeping on sidewalks or seeking shelter under flyovers in big cities.
“For acute patients suffering from mental illness, halfway homes are much needed, especially when there is no government-owned/run and private ones are far and few. The project on such halfway homes which the government initiated in the capital are yet to be made operational,” said Puneet Dwevedi, senior consultant at the Fortis Hospital here.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.
Dwevedi, associated with the Sanjivani society of mental health, said even if patients with mental illness need attention throughout their life their families abandon them.
According to health and family welfare ministry estimates, at least a quarter of India’s mentally ill are homeless.
Chandershekhar Gupta, a psychiatrist at city-based Tulsi home, said until the government come up with more and more halfway homes the problems cannot be solved.
“Technically, these halfway homes serve as a stop-gap place for people who have undergone treatment for mental illness before they venture into the real world,” said Chandershekhar.
“Earlier, family and social organisations used to provide support to people with mental illness but these days, with families going nuclear, they no longer are able to or are willing to take care of mentally ill relatives, which is why they are seen wandering on the streets. It’s a grim state because only a few patients get complete treatment,” he said.